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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft to Acquire GitHub for $7.5 Billion

Microsoft to Acquire GitHub for $7.5 Billion

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Microsoft has announced an agreement to acquire GitHub, the software development platform and web-based hosting service for version control using Git. The deal should close later in the year, and both parties have stated that GitHub will remain an open platform that is committed to supporting developers using any tools and deploying to any platform.

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, has written about the acquisition on the Official Microsoft Blog, stating that "Developers are the builders of this [digital technology] era, writing the world's code. And GitHub is their home." More than 28 million developers already collaborate on GitHub, and it is home to more than 85 million code repositories used by people across the globe. Many open source projects host their code on GitHub, and also use the platform to plan project roadmaps, track issues, and collaborate via both issue tracking and code-driven discussions.

Nadella makes clear that "GitHub will remain an open platform, which any developer can plug into and extend", and discusses the vision that 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."

We are committed to being stewards of the GitHub community, which will retain its developer-first ethos, operate independently and remain an open platform.

GitHub CEO and co-founder Chris Wanstrath has also published "A bright future for GitHub" on the GitHub Blog, and also states that Microsoft and GitHub share a common vision. Microsoft's work on open source has inspired the GitHub team. Microsoft is a high profile committer to both git itself and open source projects hosted on GitHub. At QCon London last year Sam Guckenheimer, product owner, Visual Studio Team Services, shared the story of how Microsoft moved the Windows codebases from Source Depot to git, and in the process of overcoming inherent challenges around the size of the repository and files they created and released the open source Git Virtual File System (GVFS).

Nadella also echoes the importance of collaboration across the software industry within his blog post:

"[...] the real power comes when every developer can create together, collaborate, share code and build on each other's work. In all walks of life, we see the power of communities, and this is true for software development and developers."

There has already been much discussion about the acquisition on both Twitter and Reddit, with the opinion of industry luminaries apparently split on the deal. David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of the Ruby on Rails framework, joined people who were forlorn about the deal, and tweeted that this would be a "sad end to the independence of GitHub". Others were more positive, and Sam Newman, author of "Building Microservices", suggested that many people may not be "familiar with the Microsoft of today", and stated that "there are few other similar large companies [he sees] who so consistently focus their efforts on making developers lives easier".

The acquisition is scheduled to close later in the year, and once complete GitHub will be led by CEO Nat Friedman, an open source veteran and founder of cross-platform mobile development technology Xamarin, who will continue to report to Microsoft Cloud + AI Group Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie. GitHub CEO and Co-Founder Chris Wanstrath will become a technical fellow at Microsoft, also reporting to Guthrie.

The Register has published a story "Nadella tells worried GitHub devs: Judge us by our actions" which suggests there are three reasons why developers should start considering alternatives to GitHub: the word "opportunities" was used frequently within press material, which could be code for "ways to make money from this"; it can be expected that GitHub will gradually move onto Microsoft platforms and for Microsoft products and services to take up more and more space on GitHub; and as the acquiring organisation grows more powerful this could lead to the resurgence of "the old Microsoft", which may result in an attempt to force developers to embrace Microsoft's ecosystem.

Further details of the acquisition can be found within a public presentation available via the Microsoft website.

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