Steven Troughton-Smith has been looking into the how and what behind Microsoft’s ability to compile Objective-C code for Windows 10, and the history of it all is interesting. It turns out that Microsoft’s current implementation was initially developed by a company called Inception Mobile for BlackBerryOS 10. It took iOS Objective-C and converted as much as possible to Java or C++, hooking into the native platform APIs. It still works similarly on Windows 10.
After trying to woo BlackBerry, Inception Mobile tried to shop it around to Samsung for its Tizen platform. The audio file of the company’s presentation at the Tizen Developer Conference 2013 is still available, too.
Eventually, as we know now, Inception Mobile was acquired by Microsoft, and its co-founder Salmaan Ahmed ended up at Microsoft. And lo and behold: Ahmed was a speaker at this year’s Build conference, under the title “Compiling Objective-C Using the Visual Studio 2015 C++ Code Generation that Builds Windows, SQL, .Net, and Office“.
In other words, this technology has been in development for a long time, and looking at the slides and listening to the presentation from the past few years indicates that the technology was platform-agnostic, working on BlackBerryOS, Tizen, Android, and now Windows.
Very interesting. Apparently BlackBerry and Samsung saw no real value in this technology – at least, not enough to acquire it or include it in their platforms, whereas Microsoft jumped on it and turned it into a big deal for Windows 10.