Aug 16

Wow, I nearly fell out of my chair when I read this little gem on TechCrunch:

Android chief Andy Rubin wrote in a 2005 email, “If Sun doesn’t want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work and adopt MSFT CLR VM and C# language – or – 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way.”

Imagine how different the world would be today if Google had chosen .NET instead of Java as the native development framework for the Android mobile operating system…

First, Google wouldn’t find itself embroiled in nasty patent litigation with Oracle over the use of Java in Android.  Oracle is seeking millions of dollars in damage and an injunction to stop the distribution of Android, the world’s #1 mobile platform.  Patent protection is also likely the main reason that Google is purchasing Motorola for $12.5 billion.

Second, the future of the .NET Framework wouldn’t be in doubt.  Android currently enjoys a 43% share of the smartphone market and is growing quickly with 500,000 new activations each day.  Ironically and sadly, Microsoft doesn’t even use .NET in Windows.  The .NET Framework is required to program Windows Phone 7, but that mobile platform is struggling for customers.  Android would have given .NET the validity and mass exposure it deserves.

This was a huge missed opportunity for Microsoft, the .NET Framework and .NET community. 

Fortunately, Xamarin offers Mono for Android, which enables developers to use Microsoft Visual Studio to create C# and .NET-based applications that run on Android phones and tablets.  Developers can leverage their existing .NET skills and code to build native Android apps.

Further reading: Is .NET Dead?

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Article published on August 16, 2011

3 Responses to “Google Considered C# as the Native Language for Android”

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