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Microsoft executive vice president Scott Guthrie speaks this morning at the company’s Connect developer conference in New York. (Via webcast.)

Microsoft’s Developer Division is making a series of new moves in an attempt to expand its software development platform and tools further beyond its traditional Windows base — aiming in part to reach more iOS, Linux and Android developers.

At a Microsoft developer event in New York this morning, the company announced the release candidate of the .NET Core 5 as an open-source project for making apps that work on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X.

Microsoft also announced plans for Visual Studio to support R, the popular open-source language for data science and machine learning.

A slide from Microsoft’s presentation this morning showing the languages and platforms supported by Visual Studio.

In addition, Microsoft introduced new Visual Studio cloud subscriptions to use the development platform with monthly or annual payments; a new program called Visual Studio Dev Essentials, providing access to key developer tools and services; and a Visual Studio Marketplace where developers can find and purchase components and extensions for Microsoft’s development platform, initially from Microsoft but later from outside vendors.

Microsoft also announced the availability of the Microsoft Graph, which provides APIs to access data and intelligence from Microsoft across various platforms.

“We’re delivering all these services with a really open approach,” said Scott Guthrie, Microsoft executive vice president for cloud and enterprise, announcing the news this morning at Microsoft’s Connect developer event in New York. “You can use our developer tools now to write apps in any language and target any platform.”

Brian Harry
Brian Harry

The new initiatives come a year after the company open-sourced the .NET core server runtime and framework, expanding Visual Studio and .NET for developers on Linux, iOS and Android.

The approach represents a major change for the company, which historically had a competitive and sometimes hostile relationship with those alternative platforms.

“Adoption of all of that stuff is going incredibly well,” said Microsoft corporate vice president Brian Harry, in an interview with GeekWire. For example, he said, since the release of Visual Studio 2015 this summer, the company has seen 5 million downloads of the program.

The new cloud subscriptions for Visual Studio provide a new wrinkle that Microsoft hopes will make the platform more accessible to a wider range of developers. Visual Studio Professional will run $45/month and $539/year. Visual Studio Enterprise will be available for $250/month and $2,999 year.

The company’s Connect conference is under way now, available here via live stream.

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