Microsoft-GitHub Now a Done Deal

Microsoft's acquisition of the GitHub open source code repository has officially cleared all regulatory hurdles, Microsoft announced Friday.

The deal, now complete, is worth $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock. It will position Microsoft's Nat Friedman as GitHub's CEO starting on Monday. Friedman is the former CEO of Xamarin, an open source company that Microsoft bought back in 2016. Friedman will report to Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's executive vice president for the Cloud and AI Group.

In a blog post, Friedman outlined three objectives for GitHub's future:

  • Ensuring GitHub is the best place to run productive communities and teams
  • Making GitHub accessible to more developers around the world
  • Reliability, security, and performance

In a June announcement of Microsoft's acquisition plans, Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO, had promised to maintain GitHub as an open platform:

Going forward, 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.

Nadella also emphasized Microsoft's future support for enterprise developer use of the GitHub platform, including some form of integration with Microsoft's partner channels. Microsoft is also planning to use the GitHub acquisition to "bring Microsoft's developer tools and services to new audiences."

That last aspect is already happening on Microsoft's side with its open source PowerShell and Visual Studio Code solutions for developers, as well as its open source .NET Framework. Microsoft also recently took its Azure Service Fabric microservices application development platform and put it into GitHub as open source code.

Microsoft has claimed in the past to be a top GitHub code contributor. It now uses open source software in its products, including its datacenters with Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) technology, which is built using Debian Linux.

Last year, Microsoft joined the Open Source Initiative, a maintainer of the Open Source Definition that oversees the distribution terms for open source software. This year, in an atypical switch from its litigious past, Microsoft took another step forward by joining the Open Invention Network, offering a pool of 60,000 patents as a legal tool for warding off open source software patent infringement claims.

The newly acquired GitHub will operate as a separate entity. It'll "operate independently as a community, platform, and business," Friedman indicated in his blog post.

GitHub is a fairly large code repository and collaboration space, laying claim to serving "more than 28 million developers." GitHub also reports having "85 million code repositories" housed on its platform.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.