From left, Chris Wanstrath (left), Github CEO and co-founder, Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO and Nat Friedman, Microsoft corporate vice president, Developer Services. Photo from Microsoft blog.

Published: October 26th, 2018

Microsoft Corp. is increasingly investing in open source, on Friday officially completing its acquisition of coding development platform GitHub.

The $7.5 billion acquisition was originally announced in June, when it was stated that the deal would likely close before the end of the year.

On Friday, Nat Freidman, Microsoft vice-president of developer services and GitHub’s new CEO, celebrated in a blog post, stating that the acquisition is finally complete and he will take the reigns as of Monday.

“I’ve spent the past few months meeting with hundreds of developers as I prepared for this role, from maintainers to startups to large businesses,” he said in the post, “the passion for GitHub is amazing… I’ve learned a lot from these conversations, and listening to our customers will be a core part of how GitHub operates as a company.”

He assured that GitHub will continue to operate independently, “retaining its developer-first values, distinctive spirit, and open extensibility,” and that it will continue to retain its product philosophy of thoughtfulness and care that focuses on the developer experience.”

In a June statement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness and innovation.”

In the past, Microsoft experienced some criticism for some of its practices regarding open source initiatives, but this acquisition as well as a recent announcement to join the Open Invention Network (OIN) to help support Linux and open source software, points to a new outlook from the tech giant.

Open Invention Network is a community that was founded in 2005 and is dedicated to supporting Linux and helping companies working in open source, to manage patent risks. It has around 2,400 members that includes independent developers and even Google and IBM. By joining Microsoft has made a library of over 60,000 patents open source and available to the OIN network.

Corporate vice-president at Microsoft Erich Andersen said in an Oct. 10 statement about joining the community, “We know Microsoft’s decision to join OIN may be viewed as surprising to some, it is no secret that there has been friction in the past between Microsoft and the open source community over the issue of patents. For others who have followed our evolution, we hope this announcement will be viewed as the next logical step for a company that is listening to customers and developers and is firmly committed to Linux and other open source programs.”

By finalizing its GitHub acquisition Microsoft, which former GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath stated has been the most active organization on GitHub in the world, is showing that commitment to working with the open source community,

“We believe in the power of communities, that we can achieve more when we collaborate with others,” said Friedman about future plans for GitHub, “our vision is to serve every developer on the planet, by being the best place to build software.”

With this merger he says GitHub has three objectives, ensuring its “the best place” to run productive communities, making the platform accessible to more developers globally, and focusing on reliability, security and performance.

The platform will work to improve features on the site such as search, notifications, issues/projects, its mobile experience, and making GitHub Actions broadly available, according to the blog.

Responses to the merger have been mixed, with some people taking to Twitter with worries about conflicts of interest:

 

While others have expressed excitement about the new partnership:

 

Friedman calls this merger, “a dream opportunity for all of us at GitHub and we couldn’t be more excited to roll up our sleeves and start this chapter.”

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