According to a Bloomberg report, Microsoft is set to announce its acquisition of the version control service GitHub. Presently, the terms of the transaction are unknown, though Bloomberg noted that GitHub was valued at $2 billion in 2015. Similarly, the report indicates that GitHub has yet to find a way to profit from hosting code and other assets for open source software projects without charging users, which may have prompted GitHub’s desire to sell.
Neither Microsoft nor GitHub have made public statements (to Bloomberg or otherwise) about the reported transaction.
Bloomberg quotes an unnamed source familiar with the negotiations that the company opted to sell rather than go public due in part to being «impressed by [Microsoft] Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella.» Nadella has overseen an embrace of open source software at Microsoft since becoming CEO. While he may have impressed GitHub’s board, the prospect of Microsoft controlling GitHub is causing considerable consternation among developers.
Microsoft’s acquisition does make some sense. The company uses GitHub to host their own open source projects, and Microsoft partnered with GitHub to make exporting code easier when Microsoft’s competing Codeplex service shut down in 2017.
While Microsoft’s culture has undoubtedly changed since the publication of the Halloween documents 20 years ago, certain segments of developer communities are likely to flee from GitHub in the face of this acquisition, because of Microsoft’s historical hostility to open source software. In particular, GitLab has seen a noticeable uptick in imported repos since the publication of the initial Bloomberg report. Of note, GitLab is itself open source, and it is possible for developers or organizations to create their own self-hosted instance of GitLab. It also includes built-in Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery support, as well as GitLab Pages and an issue tracker.
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Other alternatives include Atlassian’s BitBucket, which, while closed source, does provide the option of a paid self-hosted instance. Apache Allura and GitBucket are other open source, self-hosted git frontends. SourceForge—which has been working hard to regain developer trust under new owners BIZX—is built on top of Apache Allura.
Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub also brings the code editor Atom, and the Electron framework it runs on top of under Redmond’s umbrella. Given that Atom overlaps with Visual Studio Code, it is possible that GitHub’s homegrown code editor could be jettisoned in the future.
Additionally, Microsoft’s purchase of GitHub has major implications for career management, as HR departments are often chiefly interested in the LinkedIn and GitHub profiles of prospective hires. While the potential for integrations between the two is decently high, how Microsoft would approach this is unclear. That said, this acquisition complicates career management for people trying to steer clear of Microsoft’s ecosystem.
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
- A Bloomberg report indicates Microsoft is preparing to purchase the hosted git (version control system) service GitHub.
- Combined with Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn, the deal has a strong potential of impacting career management practices.