How Microsoft Is Continuing Its Cross-Platform Strategy



Microsoft’s growing interest in Linux

We’ve discussed how Microsoft’s (MSFT) decision to enable its SQL Server on Linux made news in the enterprise software space. Very few Microsoft applications run on Linux. The ones that do run on Linux are those that Microsoft has acquired over the years such as Skype and Wunderlist.

To date, anyone wishing to use Microsoft’s software would generally have to run Windows. However, Microsoft’s recent announcement has changed this scenario and shows that Microsoft is now keen on supporting its software on other platforms. In 2015, Microsoft launched a new version of Office for Apple’s (AAPL) Mac. Its Office Mobile is already available on Apple’s iOS and Google’s (GOOG) Android.

In February 2016, Microsoft announced its acquisition of Xamarin, a mobile app development platform provider with whom it had had a partnership since 2013. Xamarin’s customers include Honeywell (HON), Kellogg Company (K), Flipboard, Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO), and NBCUniversal.

Xamarin develops a cross-platform version of Microsoft’s .NET programming framework. Microsoft’s .NET programming framework is a tool that allows developers to use Microsoft’s C# programming language to build applications that run on Linux as well as Apple’s operating system, not just Windows.

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Microsoft’s SQL Server announcement is a part of its cross-platform strategy

With its recent SQL server announcement and its recent acquisitions of Xamarin, Talko, Yammer, Acompli, Sunrise, and 6Wunderkinder, it’s clear that Microsoft’s strategy revolves around the development of cross-platform apps and services.

According to Al Gillen, group vice president of enterprise infrastructure at International Data Corporation, “By taking this key product to Linux Microsoft is proving its commitment to being a cross-platform solution provider. This gives customers choice and reduces the concerns for lock-in. We would expect this will also accelerate the overall adoption of SQL Server.”

Investors who wish to gain exposure to Microsoft may want to consider investing in the iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF (IWD). IWD has an exposure of 3.4% to application software and invests ~2.0% of its holdings in Microsoft.


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