Microsoft buys GitHub for $7.5 billion

The rumors were true: Microsoft is buying the GitHub hosting and development service for $7.5 billion.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is buying GitHub for $7.5 billion, the company announced on June 4.

Microsoft's CEO of Xamarin, Nat Friedman, is taking over as CEO of the San Francisco-based development platform. GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath will become a Microsoft Technical Fellow as part of the arrangement.

Microsoft expects the acquisition to complete regulatory review by the end of calendar 2018, officials said.

Credit: Microsoft

On Friday, word of a possible acquisition of GitHub by Microsoft began circulating, based on report from Business Insider.

Since then, reaction by developers has been mixed. Some, noting changes happening at the company since Satya Nadella became CEO in 2014, said they believed Microsoft would be a good steward for GitHub. Others say they are still wary of Microsoft and are considering moving away from the platform once Microsoft takes it over. In its announcement today, Microsoft officials said the company's intent is to keep GitHub platform- and language-independent.

Microsoft is expected to treat the GitHub acquisition largely like it treated LinkedIn, meaning it will let it run mostly independently. However, there are Microsoft products and services -- for example, Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) -- that Microsoft will need to decide how to integrate with GitHub.

Microsoft has been partnering with GitHub for the last few years.

In 2017, Microsoft had about 1,300 employees actively pushing code to 825 top repositories on GitHub, officials said, compared to Google with 900 employees contributing to about 1,100 repositories, and Amazon with 134 employees pushing code to 158 top projects. Last year, Microsoft surprisingly moved to the Git version-control system for Windows development.

In his blog post on today's news, Nadella explained the thinking behind Microsoft's GitHub deal:

" From the largest corporations to the smallest startups, GitHub is the destination for developers to learn, share and work together to create software. It's a destination for Microsoft too. We are the most active organization on GitHub, with more than 2 million 'commits,' or updates, made to projects."

As part of today's GitHub acquisition, Microsoft also basically becomes the steward of the Electron cross-platform development framework. It will be interesting to see what Microsoft does to bring Electron into its development fold, given its recent backing of the Progressive Web Apps (PWA) effort.

For those wanting more information about GitHub, ZDNet sister site TechRepublic has an excellent GitHub explainer.

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