The Stack Archive News Article

Microsoft’s GitHub acquisition now looks likely

Mon 4 Jun 2018

Microsoft's GitHub

UPDATE: Microsoft has now confirmed that it has bought GitHub for $7.5 billion (approx £5.6 billion). Its new CEO will be Nat Friedman, formerly a corporate vice president at Microsoft. GitHub former CEO and co-founder Chris Wanstrath will take on an advisory role and will become a technical fellow at Microsoft.

Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, wrote in a blog post that the Redmond firm sees three opportunities coming out of the acquisition: empowering developers, getting more enterprise developers using GitHub, and bringing Microsoft developer tools and services to more people. Though listed in this order on the blog post, it remains to be seen which will be the most important to Microsoft.

It has also insisted that GitHub will remain entirely open, and will function in the same way; Nadella wrote:

‘Going forward, GitHub will remain an open platform, which any developer can plug into and extend. Developers will continue to be able to use the programming languages, tools and operating systems of their choice for their projects – and will still be able to deploy their code on any cloud and any device.’

Microsoft’s GitHub acquisition is now looking increasingly likely. It is planning on acquiring the popular open source code repository website, according to reports from Bloomberg.

According to sources close to the matter, the Washington giant is close to buying GitHub, which was last valued at $2 billion (approx. £1.5 billion) in 2015. The deal may go through today.

GitHub is extremely popular with software developers and is far and away the most popular company of its type. It allows developers to store and collaborate on code on a massive scale – with some of the world’s largest technology companies using the service.

Those companies include Microsoft, which is the single biggest contributor of code on GitHub. The acquisition would make sense for Microsoft, which in recent years, and particular under Satya Nadella’s leadership, has moved away from dependence on proprietary Windows software and towards a more open-source model.

Microsoft loves GitHub

The company is also rooted in open-source software development, since its inception with Bill Gates and Paul Allen, through to its current need to connect with the broader development community in order to improve its own products.

Microsoft's GitHub

Developers, developers, developers: Microsoft has always loved them. (YouTube)

There was a time when Microsoft was not a fan of GitHub, seeing the open development and collaboration that it encourages as a threat to its business model. Now, though, it has opened up a lot of its own code, including hosting its Windows File Manager source code on the site.

It has also placed more recent projects on the site, including working with Canonical to bring Ubuntu to Windows. It has also made PowerShell and the Edge JavaScript engine open source and has taken actions such as integrating GitHub into its App Center for developers.

The news originally broke with a report from Business Insider that the two companies had been in increasingly serious talks and was followed up by the Bloomberg report which appears to confirm the news.

GitHub had until recently been committed to independence, though there had been questions about whether executives would prefer to pursue an IPO or be bought out. Its current business model revolves around subscription prices for access to private repositories on the site.

The acquisition is yet to be confirmed by either company, though this is expected to happen soon.


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