Microsoft buys JavaScript developer platform npm; plans to integrate it with GitHub

Microsoft is acquiring npm, a major JavaScript-developer platform, which it is planning to integrate with GitHub.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is acquiring Node package manager npm Inc., officials announced on March 16. (Neither company is sharing the purchase price.) Microsoft plans to integrate GitHub with npm with the intent of making the combined community even more appealing to JavaScript developers. 

npm, in addition to offering the Node package manager, also hosts and maintains the npm Registry and CLI

Microsoft officials said npm currently supports more than 1.3 million packages and 75 billion downloads a month. Microsoft intends to always keep the npm registry available as open-source and free to developers, said GitHub CEO Nat Friedman.

Once Microsoft's acquisition of npm is approved, it has a three-pronged plan for npm, Friedman said in his post: To invest in the registry infrastructure and platform; to improve the core experience of npm with new features like Workspaces, as well as improvements to publishing and multi-factor authentication; and to engage with the JavaScript community to "help us define the future of npm."

In the longer term, Microsoft intends to integrate GitHub and npm so that developers will be able to trace a change from a GitHub pull request to an npm package version that fixes it, Friedman said.

Microsoft also plans to continue to support paid npm features for Pro, Teams and Enterprise customers for hosting private registries. Microsoft also plans to enable npm's paying customers to move their private npm packages to GitHub Packages, "allowing npm to exclusively focus on being a great public registry for JavaScript," Friedman said.

"Today's news that GitHub will be acquiring npm is a positive and logical step to ensure the stability and security of the open-source npm registry for JavaScript developers. We know and trust the GitHub leaders who have the experience to build upon the important contributions by many, which made npm the leading open-source package management resource it is today," said Robin Ginn, executive director, OpenJS Foundation.

Additional reporting by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols.

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