Microsoft has acquired coding service GitHub, in a deal worth $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock. The acquisition was confirmed today by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in an official company blog, having been reported by several outlets yesterday.
GitHub is a popular repository for developers, and currently hosts around 85m repositories that are used by 28m developers. Today’s news boosts Microsoft’s reputation in the coding community, and gives it access to a vast array talent and technology that it can leverage for other verticals.
“From the largest corporations to the smallest startups, GitHub is the destination for developers to learn, share and work together to create software,” wrote Nadella, for whom the deal is Microsoft’s second-biggest under his tenure, behind 2016’s $26.2bn purchase of LinkedIn.
Microsoft killed its own GitHub competitor, Codeplex, last December. It is now the most active brand on GitHub, completing more than two million “commits”, or updates, to projects. “Building technology so that others can build technology is core to our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more,” added Nadella.
The move sees Nat Friedman, former CEO of Xamarin, that was acquired by Microsoft in 2016, become GitHub CEO. GitHub’s founder Chris Wanstrath joins Microsoft as a technical fellow. Some developers have already expressed concern about Microsoft’s true commitment to open-source computing, and warn that GitHub could lose its financial viability if it becomes too big.
Nadella stresses that GitHub will “remain an open platform, which any developer can plug into and extend. 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.”
Microsoft’s size and apparent commitment to winning developers’ trust should provide a potent springboard for GitHub to evolve. It is a canny move likely to strengthen Microsoft’s credentials among developers, and a greater chance to integrate cutting-edge code into its leading platforms.