Way back in 2016, Microsoft bought cross-platform app development company Xamarin. Not only was Microsoft purchasing an open source company to fold into its ecosystem, it also acquired Xamarin co-founder and open source advocate Miguel de Icaza. However, after six years with the Redmond giant, de Icaza is now leaving Microsoft.
Speaking to ZDNet, de Icaza confirmed he is stepping away from Microsoft to take some time out: “I am going to rest while the kids are in school.”
Discussing his plans for the future, the engineer says he is ready to explore what the future holds:
“Living in this industry is like the kid at the candy store – too many things are happening and there are too many choices. So I want to spend some time sampling some of the candy, and then deciding which one I want to buy a pound of,” de Icaza said.
Microsoft's acquisition came at a time when the company was seeking open source legitimacy. After decades of rejecting the concept of open source and at times going to war with open source solutions like Linux, Microsoft began to change.
CEO Satya Nadella wanted to steer Microsoft towards embracing open source. By 2016, those plans were in their infancy. A slick Microsoft Loves Linux marketing campaign helped, but Microsoft needed to show and not tell. A purchase like Xamarin showed Microsoft was taking open source seriously.
Taking de Icaza on board gave Microsoft more legitimacy. De Icaza is a notable proponent of open source solutions. After joining Microsoft, de Icaza said the company had become open source by default. Half a decade on, Microsoft has shown its commitment to open source in a multitube of ways.
It seems de Icaza sees this as a good time to depart Microsoft. He says the future likely lies with smaller companies.
“If I wanted to work for a big company, I would have stayed here (at Microsoft). It is awesome here,” he tells ZDNet. “I learned a lot, it was good, but I do miss the startup world, and building and running a team – which I have not been doing here in this role.”
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