microsoft github acquisition satya nadella


Microsoft’s Github purchase sends talent to rival GitLab

The software giant promises to keep Github open—but many developers have already abandoned it.


Phillip Tracy


Posted on Jun 4, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 2:23 pm CDT

Microsoft announced on Monday the acquisition of popular code repository Github, but there may not be as many users on the platform once the purchase is finalized.

Worried about what changes the software giant will bring, many developers are getting a head start before the acquisition goes through, moving their code to services like GitLab and Bitbucket.

Github’s rivals are even exploiting the news in marketing campaigns with surprising success. GitLab is riding the #movingtogitlab hashtag, which has seen a good deal of traction on Twitter. The company reports 10 times the normal number of repositories being added daily. The flood of new users is even forcing it to scale up its operation.

Github is a crucial tool for more than 25 million developers, allowing them to store projects, documentation, and code and to collaborate with others. GitLab, a repository manager, offers many of the same features as Github, but comes with a few extras, like built-in continuous integration and delivery. GitLab’s pricing plans are also less expensive on the whole.

Microsoft’s buyout has caused a polarizing reaction in the developer community. Users took their opinions to Twitter, many praising the buyout given Microsoft’s position in the software space, while critics of the firm rejected the purchase and urged others to find a new home for their code.

Reddit users have been similarly vocal about switching to GitLab with some citing the drastic changes Microsoft has made in recent years to products like Skype and Windows. Others fear the mega-corporation will use the acquisition to gain ground in the industry at their expense. 

Microsoft tried to dispel these concerns in its announcement.

“GitHub will remain an open platform, which any developer can plug into and extend,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote in a blog post. “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. Second, we will accelerate enterprise developers’ use of GitHub, with our direct sales and partner channels and access to Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure and services.”

With its purchase of Github, Microsoft is completing its turnaround from its days under Steve Ballmer, who once described the open-source operating system Linux as a “cancer.” Since taking over in 2014, Nadella has pushed Microsoft toward open-source technology and even made it a sponsor of the Open Source Initiative advocacy group.

Facebook, Apple, and Google all use Github, but few other companies contribute as much as Microsoft, which has more than 1,000 employees actively pushing repositories to the service. Despite its presence on the platform, Microsoft will need to answer heated questions from concerned coders about the future it has planned for Github.

“Most importantly, we recognize the responsibility we take on with this agreement,” Nadella wrote. “We are committed to being stewards of the GitHub community, which will retain its developer-first ethos, operate independently and remain an open platform. We will always listen to developer feedback and invest in both fundamentals and new capabilities.”

It’s not clear how much Microsoft will pay to acquire Github, which was last valued at $2 billion in 2015. Reports say Github approved the deal because it was impressed by Nadella. Once the acquisition closes “later this year,” Nat Friedman, the founder of Xamarin, will take over as CEO of Github and will report to Microsoft Cloud + AI Group executive vice president Scott Guthrie. Github’s co-founder Chris Wanstrath will be a technical fellow at Microsoft.

You can learn more about Microsoft’s vision for Github going forward in this open presentation shared by Nadella.  

H/T Next Web

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*First Published: Jun 4, 2018, 10:12 am CDT