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Arduino Announces Partnership with Windows & Microsoft

Earlier today, Arduino announced a new partnership with Microsoft and special support for Windows.

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Earlier today, Arduino (that's Arduino.cc) posted the following on their blog:

It’s a special day for the Makers’ community. Massimo Banzi is in San Francisco attending Build Conference, the biggest developer event of the calendar year for Microsoft and today Microsoft is announcing a strong partnership with Arduino: Windows 10 is in fact the world’s first Arduino certified operating system!

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Image courtesy of Arduino.cc

So what does that mean? According to their post: "‘Arduino Certified’ Windows 10 enables makers to easily create smart objects combining hardware-driving capability of Arduino with the software capabilities of Windows."

Users can employ both Windows Remote Arduino and Windows Virtual Shields in their Arduino-based projects -- both of which were released as open source libraries.

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Image courtesy of Hackster.io

If you want to play around with Windows Remote Arduino, our friends over at Hackster.io have a great tutorial that will show you how to turn an LED on-and-off (the standard "Hello World" project) using Windows Remote Arduino. Microsoft recommends using our BlueSMiRF Silver as the Bluetooth communication module.

The comments on Arduino's post are mixed -- some folks applaud a giant like Microsoft throwing their weight behind Arduino.cc, while others lament a historically "close-sourced" company getting in cahoots with one of the major players in the open source world. Whether this will have larger implications down the road for Arduino and the Arduino IDE remain to be seen, but it is certainly an interesting development.

Truth be told, Microsoft has recently made several interesting jaunts into the world of open source. In fact, Microsoft just launched its .NET Distribution For Linux And Mac. They also recently announced that the Windows 10 IoT Core Insider Preview will be free for Makers. This is inline with the announcement earlier this year that Microsoft would offer a free version of Windows 10 for the Raspberry Pi 2.

It certainly seems that Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO since February 2014, is focused on supporting the world of Makers and DIY enthusiasts.

So what are your thoughts on this new partnership and the seemingly new focus on Makers and DIYers from the folks at Microsoft?


Comments 20 comments

  • One of the most interesting niblets of information was that the API would allow embedded projects (RaspPi, Arduino, etc.) to utilize sensors from Windows devices, specifically mentioning Windows Phones like the Lumia 530. This is a huge deal considering that the Lumia 520 can be had for about $20 (retail price, no contract) in the US. It’s packed with GPS, IMU, Ambient light, touchscreen, camera, GPRS/GMS modem, etc. all for $20. Does sparkfun even offer an IMU/GPS shield for that price?! Not to mention the fact that it’s an entire freaking phone. And if this API extends to the HoloLens (like they showed in the video) and, who knows, maybe more of their devices like the Microsoft Band smartwatch and the XBOXone and maybe even tie into their cloud services… The possibilites are mind-boggling.

    • At that point, you minds well just program the phone..! This is really exciting! Also, where are you seeing the 530 at for $20?

      • Looks like is WAS $20 back in December time frame: http://smartphonematters.com/nokia-lumia-520-20-smartphone/

  • Saw a comment from another Microsoftee on here and figured I'd chime in as well. I'm hopeful, but MSFT is a huge company/corporation and all of the good and bad that can mean. I think it's definitely true that at the end of the day the company is after dollars and this move strikes me as squarely aimed at both getting a piece of the IoT pie and wooing programmers to (or back to) the windows platform. Whether that is a "good" or "bad" thing I'd guess depends on each of us. I'm hopeful, but probably more inclined towards an operating system that isn't (or so I think) so closed. Too, I'm not at all thrilled with the new app stores and this you can only distribute your store app if we get a piece of the profits and we approve, etc. That whole concept disgusts me to an extreme and reflects some of the worst sorts of business behavior. There's reason to be hopeful, though. MSFT, like most anything else, has it's good points and bad points. It's an awesome place to work, I think. There are some crazy smart folks here and for a nitwit like me that's great news cause it means I'm able to tap into their experience and abilities and learn from them. These Arduino announcements make that an even more exciting prospect :) I'm also actually thrilled that at least for the moment Microsoft has started to embrace non-MSFT OS's like Linux and especially Android. How that'll play out in the long term I wouldn't want to make a prediction about, we'll have to wait and see, but for now I'm hopeful:) Hopefully they'll finally create an MSBUILD platform that enables much fuller use of Visual Studio (in Native c/c++) with Arduino boards and Atmega chips in general: That'd be the bee's knees, I think:) Heck might even provide an opportunity for me to change teams and be able to focus ever more on playing with stuff I enjoy as opposed to stuff that has become, over time, less than exciting for me:)

  • Microsoft isn't helping anyone but Microsoft. Microsoft will continue to add 'features' that will make it's products somewhat incomparable with existing standards and use its market share to make sure it becomes the dominant player in IoT. When that happens and the cost of changing to something else becomes high, Microsoft will start charging for their 'free' product.

    What they will have gained is a customer base locked into their products in the fastest growing area of the Internet, and because their product was initially 'free' they will have suppressed all competitors.

    What you will have gained is a buggy, insecure system, bloatware, and hardware requirements that change at Microsoft's whim to favor themselves. It won't be long until you need a Galileo or Atom to connect to the IoT and anyone trying to use anything else will be hosed.

    Microsoft even have a name for this official policy - Embrace, Expand and Extinguish. They have done it so often I am surprised anyone still trusts them. Remember Netscap and MS attempts to control/destroy Java? They also did a similar thing with the 'free' introduction ('we will not enforce copyright on our products') in eastern Europe and China - as soon as they were dominant and had extinguished the opposition they started to enforce copyright and make the users pay through the nose.

    More fool you if you do this route.

    • It is called "vendor lock-in". I used to deal with this all the time in industrial control systems. However, as time has gone on the vendors are finding that open systems are what customers really want. Hence the standardization of interfaces for instruments. The "vendor lock-in" model is NOT unique to MS at all. I would not doubt it was/is taught in MBA programs.

      As far as I can tell MS is in a very tenuous situation. Their marketing strategies on a lot of their flagship products is backfiring. So the "vendor lock-in" strategy may be coming to an end. Probably something to do with diminishing returns, public perception, etc. Their are plenty of options on the market now for all of their products. The gravitation to SaaS is probably going to bolster Open Source projects immensely. People don't want to keep buying their products in perpetuity.

      Honestly some of the moves MS has made are very welcome especially for developers. They are producing some solutions that are cross platform (not just MS platforms) like the community edition of Visual Studio. In my mind their biggest recent success story is Windows 7. It is an absolute gem version of Windows. I really dislike (almost hate) Windows 8.1, but it does boot fast on my laptop (I don't have SSD).

      So despite my distrust of the "vendor lock-in" model (it really only serves the vendor, not the customer) I see a gravitation by MS to more open systems. This is a good move. Vote with dollars to support this. Being involved with Arduino is just another company in a long line of companies making that move. They should be congratulated for that.

      BTW, to give some perspective to my arguments. I had Windows 95 on my machine way back when. I did not run Windows on my machine for more than 10 years in between. I ran Linux during that time. Then I finally needed Windows 7 for doing contract work. I actually prefer doing development under Windows 7 than I did under Linux. So they have really made inroads to customers that had written off Windows as a personal platform. I was "the guy" at work that always made disparaging remarks about MS. My opinion is slowly changing. I am not sure if I am growing up, MS is growing up, or both.

  • I'm a MSFT employee, and it's truly awesome to be part of what we're setting out to do. The tone is about people and perfect products. It's about helping people do amazing things, and inspiring the next set of generations to come. Many of my colleagues put in well over 400 hrs/yr volunteering in the maker space communities - this is something we're very passionate about. I'm stoked about what's coming down the MSFT pipe, but especially so for makers and doers. At MSFT, we recently implemented a Hackathon - a week/year dedicated to making, where we're paid and encouraged to create and do something awesome. Last year I built a robot that would follow someone around as they walk, leveraging SparkFun products and the Surface Pro 3. This year, while I don't know exactly what I'll be creating - it'll incorporate a Surface, RPi w/ Win10, Azure and Cortana.

    • That is awesome. One thing I miss about MS products was QBasic. It was accessible to non-technical people to learn. It was very simple as well. Visual Basic is just not the same. It is really too complicated for the beginner IMO. So if MS is reaching out to fledgling programmers consider making some more accessible programming environments and put them in the Windows as a standard addon/feature. I think you will find a lot of people will love this. Maybe a VBA for kids and devices like arduino.

  • Microsoft is moving to try to take a portion of the IoT market by supporting open source projects. It's a great move for them, especially since people and businesses are moving to more Linux based IoT.

    Everyone should know that this is a business move to sell Windows 10 and Microsoft products.

  • links are broke...

  • "The first one is free" So thay say. It's not about the support, it's about getting the focus of the market exclusively to Microsoft. Saying, if you want the whole package, that gonna cost you money. Perhaps some might be able to use other tools, others, will be force to use their "infrastructure" in order to use any Arduino product. Fork everything!

  • Microsoft will be handing out copies of 'BOB' and Windows ME for free. Whoopie!

  • .NetMF has been open for quite some time actually.

    • It has but this is .NET core, which is the full featured desktop runtime. Slowly, MS is open sourcing more and more of the .NET architecture. From the runtimes all the way up to the language interpreters, (C#, VB, etc to MSIL) and more. It's an interesting time to watch MS as they seem to be turning into a much more open (OSS, better transparency) company. It's all to stay relevant, certainly, but we would all benefit from it

  • I, for one, am simply surprised that a corporation a large as Microsoft is offering things for free and working with a community as open as Arduino.

    • It's a business move to tap into the IoT market. Don't read too much into it, just another revenue stream for them to have.

    • It's a new age....Ivory towers have become expensive and they have to walk among the normal folk now...

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