Raymond Chen wrote a post about retrieving the text under the cursor using UI Automation, and he had a comment that “Some people are under the mistaken impressions that UI Automation works only for extracting data from applications written in managed code.  That is not true.”

Well, sort of.

UI Automation was first released with Windows Vista, and in Vista, the only UI Automation providers were in managed code. 

During Windows 7, the Accessibility team ported the UI Automation providers to native code, and created a (bi-directional) “bridge” to Active Accessibility clients.  (They also back-ported the native providers to Vista and released them as part of the Platform Update for Windows Vista.)

Even in Windows 7, however, the native UI Automation providers did not have TextPattern support for edit controls and richedit controls.  That was added in Windows 8.