When Atmel was acquired by Microchip a little over two years ago many users of Atmel devices voiced concern over the future for its products. The company has recently announced that the latest version of its Microchip MPLAB X IDE can now support Atmel controllers. For now, the support is still in its beta version and Microchip has emphasized that it intends to further develop and support the IDE Atmel Studio 7 for existing and future AVR MCUs but it seems as though its future demise is inevitable.

Benefits of this latest MPLAB version is that developers with PIC-MCU experience will already be familiar with the MPLAB ecosystem and thus have fewer hurdles to deploy AVR MCUs as required for an application. The support for AVR MCUs will be expanded in future MPLAB releases. According to Microchip Atmel Studio 7 and Atmel START will continue to be maintained.
Worried about the long-term future of Atmel devices, many users were unsettled when the company was acquired by Microchip. Integration of these devices into MPLAB is a good sign that the company’s support of Atmel products will continue. It would however make economic sense for them to maintain just one IDE for both Microchip and Atmel devices eventually. This announcement is one step in the integration process.
IDE's MPLAB X 5.05 provides a unified cross-platform development environment that is scalable and compatible with Windows, OS X, and Linux operating systems. Developers can now conveniently select from a wider range of MCUs without the need to install and familiarize themselves with two different IDEs. The Toolchain has been enhanced with the MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC) configuration tool, making it easier to configure the software and other features such as the clock, peripherals and pin layout using the menu-driven interface. MCC can also generate code for specific development boards such as Microchip's Curiosity ATMega4809 Nano (DM320115) or AVR Xplained.
Developers using AVR-MCUs with MPLAB X 5.05 have further compiler and debugger/programmer options available; they include the GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) for AVR MCUs or the C compiler MPLAB XC8. Debugging and programming is now also possible using the MPLAB PICkit 4 or the new MPLAB Snap.

Version 5.05 of the MPLAB X IDE, the MPLAB XC8 C Compiler and AVR MCU GCC are now available to download free of charge from the Microchip website. Download MPLAB X to get a list of supported devices.