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Microsoft Buys Mobile App Analytics Company HockeyApp

Microsoft has acquired HockeyApp, a provider of mobile app crash analytic services for software developers.

HockeyApp, based in Stuttgart, Germany, will continue to offer its analytic services, but Microsoft plans to integrate the capabilities of the HockeyApp solution into Microsoft products in the near future. Specifically, HockeyApp will be integrated into Microsoft's Applications Insights service in Visual Studio Online, according to Microsoft's announcement.

Applications Insights is still at the "preview" stage, but it's designed to provide performance and monitoring views for applications based on client-server interactions and cloud services interactions, including with the Microsoft Azure cloud service. It integrates with Visual Studio Online to show app availability and app use stats. In addition, Application Insights delivers performance alerts, plus the ability to test apps and simulate user interactions.

In February, Microsoft made Applications Insights available as part of its offline Visual Studio integrated development environment, including Visual Studio 2013. Microsoft's announcement today didn't say whether the integrated HockeyApp capabilities will also be available for the offline Visual Studio product, but it appears that it will be at least possible to enable those capabilities via the offline IDE. Here's how a Microsoft spokesperson described it:

Application Insights is both a component of what a developer builds into their app (using Visual Studio), and a service running in the cloud (accessed through Visual Studio Online). A developer building an app using Visual Studio (starting with Visual Studio 2013, Update 3, and this free tool) can, while setting up a project, check a box that essentially says "Add Application Insights to Project." With that component added to the app they're building, Visual Studio Online then becomes the dashboard where results, findings, reports and analytics (the insights) coming back from the app are viewed.

HockeyApp has a lot of similar capabilities to Applications Insights. It allows software developers to upload mobile apps to groups of testers, with team management capabilities. Apps can be tested across Android, iOS, Mac OS and Windows Phone platforms. HockeyApp produces crash reports and analytics for mobile apps, and it has a means for testers to provide feedback or to suggest features.

It seems that Microsoft wasn't just "eating its own dog food" with its Application Insights product. An announcement from the HockeyApp team on the acquisition noted that "Microsoft has been a HockeyApp customer with many apps since the early days back in 2011."

Microsoft plans to add "new iOS and Android SDKs for Application Insights based on the features of HockeyApp" in the next few months, according to its announcement. The integration of HockeyApp's crash reports will add support in Application Insights for "all major mobile platforms," according to Microsoft.

No details about the terms of Microsoft's HockeyApp purchase were described. The HockeyApp name came about because its open source solution allowed beta testing of iPhone apps outside Apple's App Store in an "ad hoc distribution," according to a HockeyApp FAQ. The HockeyApp service works with enterprise apps as well as various mobile apps, according to the FAQ.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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