Microsoft buys GitHub for $7.5 billion

It’s official – Microsoft Corp. has reached an agreement to acquire GitHub, the $2 billion startup that boasts 28 million software developers.

Microsoft made the announcement this morning, and was quick to emphasize it will ensure GitHub remains a safe and open platform for developers, who have been using the service for 10 years.

“Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness and innovation,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, in a statement. “We recognize the community responsibility we take on with this agreement and will do our best work to empower every developer to build, innovate and solve the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Microsoft will buy GitHub for $7.5 billion in Microsoft Stock, according to the company, and the deal is expected to close by the end of the calendar year. Nat Friedman, Microsoft corporate vice-president of developer services, will take on the role of GitHub CEO. Chris Wanstrath, Github CEO and co-founder, will take on a new role at Microsoft and will work “closely with Nat and the team.” He admitted in a blog post this morning that he never expected this partnership 10 years ago when they first launched. But Microsoft is a different company now, wrote Wanstrath, adding that Microsoft is the most active organization on GitHub in the world.

“Their work on open source has inspired us, the success of the Minecraft and LinkedIn acquisitions has shown us they are serious about growing new businesses well, and the growth of Azure has proven they are an innovative development platform,” said Wanstrath. “We both believe GitHub needs to remain an open platform for all developers. No matter your language, stack, platform, cloud, or license, GitHub will continue to be your home—the best place for software creation, collaboration, and discovery.

“Beyond that, today major enterprises regularly embrace open source. The world has realized how important happy, productive developers really are. And also, people have smartphones now.”

He also cited Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code, a source code editor developed by Microsoft for Windows, Linux and macOS. It was built using GitHub’s Electron platform.

The acquisition could also be a strategic win for Microsoft’s cloud services. Azure revenue grew by 98 per cent during the second quarter of 2018, and Nadella has indicated Azure and its other cloud services is one the company’s primary focuses moving forward. Microsoft may be looking to integrate Azure with GitHub to allow developers to quickly get a GitHub project running on the cloud, which could prove to be a big win for the company.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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