Microsoft Acquires GitHub: My Thoughts

So, as many will have heard, Microsoft has just agreed to purchase GitHub for $7.5 billion, a move which will certainly send shock waves throughout the industry!

Personally, the news doesn't sit too well with me and I am sure I am not alone in this sentiment. In truth, I imagine that many current GitHub users will not be entirely comfortable with the site's new owners. While Microsoft have seemed to turn a new leaf under Nadella, many (including myself) still remain cautious about any advancements they make into the world of FOSS. This latest purchase could be a sign of positive intent or it could be another step in the old "Embrace, extend, and extinguish" strategy.

Even if Microsoft's intentions are good, there are still worries based on their track record of acquisitions, which is mixed at best. If the GitHub acquisition goes anything like Skype, Nokia, aQuantive or Danger Inc then it'll soon be following down the path of SourceForge (or worse!), whether Microsoft are genuine about their apparent new attitude to open source or not. Either way, I certainly think many developers will consider a move to alternatives like GitLab or Bitbucket (the former has already seen a 10x increase in migrations!).

I am also interested to see how Microsoft's major competitors respond. Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter are all current GitHub users, but will they really want to keep hosting their code repositories on a service owned by Microsoft? Perhaps we could see a rebirth of Google Code. I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of these companies launched an alternative service for their own repositories and possibly also to capture public demand for a GitHub alternative.

GitHub is a fantastic service and so it would be a shame to see it ruined. Hopefully, Microsoft really are heading in a new direction far away from the Ballmer-era "Linux is cancer" attitude to FOSS and they keep GitHub separated from their other interests as much as possible, just as they mostly have done with LinkedIn and Minecraft. I guess only time will tell.

Regardless of the changes Microsoft have made since Satya Nadella came on board, it seems that Microsoft have kept at least one Ballmer drum beating: "Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers!"

Source: GitHub

Tagged: github, microsoft, developers, software, git, google, apple, gitlab, bitbucket, linux


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