Microsoft Acquires Code Sharing Site GitHub

by Samuel Abasi Last updated on June 5th, 2018,

Redmond, Washington, USA: Software giant, Microsoft, has acquired GitHub, the San Francisco-based developer platform and hosting service, which is widely used for storing, sharing, and collaborating on code,

Microsoft is paying US$7.5 billion for GitHub, as the software manufacturer further embraces the types of open-source projects it used to shun. The deal is expected to close this year.

Microsoft’s chief executive officer, Satya Nadella, said the all-stock deal for GitHub would buy the “world’s leading software development platform”, a destination where developers around the world go to share and review each other’s code.

“Developers will be at the centre of solving the world’s most pressing challenges,” Nadella said in a blog post. “However, the real power comes when every developer can create together, collaborate, share code and build on each other’s work.”

Microsoft said GitHub would retain its “developer-first ethos,” operate independently and remain an open platform.

GitHub’s co-founder, Chris Wanstrath, will join Microsoft as a technical fellow to work on software initiatives. Wanstrath will be replaced as GitHub chief executive by Nat Friedman, the former head of Xamarin, which Microsoft acquired in 2016.

Wanstrath said in a blog post Monday that he could never have imagined this deal a decade ago, when “Git was a powerful but niche tool, clouds were just things in the sky, and Microsoft was a very different company”. Now, he said, “Microsoft is the most active organisation on GitHub in the world”.

It was first widely reported late last week that the  CEO-less GitHub was in talks with Microsoft about a sale. Its co-founder, Tom Preston-Werner, resigned in 2014 after harassment allegations surfaced.

GitHub was reportedly swayed to sell instead of going public because it was impressed with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

GitHub raised $250 million in 2015 and was last valued at $2 billion. Microsoft, a public company worth $760 billion, has a long list of acquisitions, including networking site LinkedIn in 2016 and Skype in 2011.

With GitHub  added to the list, Microsoft gets an edge in open-source development.

GitHub is a vast code repository that has become popular with developers and companies hosting their projects, documentation, and code. Apple, Amazon, Google, and many other big tech companies use GitHub.

Microsoft is the top contributor to Github, and has more than 1,000 employees actively pushing code to repositories on GitHub. Microsoft even hosts its own original Windows File Manager source code on GitHub. The service was last valued at $2 billion back in 2015, but it’s not clear exactly how much Microsoft has paid to acquire GitHub

Microsoft has been rapidly investing in open source technology since Satya Nadella took over the CEO role. Microsoft has open sourced PowerShell, Visual Studio Code, and the Microsoft Edge JavaScript engine. Microsoft also partnered with Canonical to bring Ubuntu to Windows 10, and acquired Xamarin to assist with mobile app development.

Microsoft is also using the open source Git version control system for Windows development, and the company even brought SQL Server to Linux. Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code, which lets developers build and debug web and cloud applications, has soared in popularity with developers. Microsoft’s GitHub acquisition will likely mean we’ll start to see even closer integration between Microsoft’s developer tools and the service. At Build last month, Microsoft continued its close work with GitHub by integrating the service into the company’s App Center for developers.

This is not the first time Microsoft has bought into a community. Its biggest-ever deal was its US$27 billion acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016.

GitHub, a San Francisco start-up, was founded in 2008 and has grown sharply since announcing its first outside investment in 2012. It now counts about 28 million software developers around the world among its users, who share code and build businesses.

It is free to use GitHub for open-source projects, but some developers and businesses pay a monthly fee to gain access to private code repositories and other services. Nadella said developers could still use whatever programming languages and operating systems they chose for their projects.

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