Yesterday Microsoft and Github made big news, announcing that MS is acquiring GitHub for 7.5 Billion. Before the official announcement, Twitter polls were against the merger, but afterwards, the response felt more balanced.
GitHub is the most popular online Git repository site and plays a core part within the opensource community. In recent years MS has embraced opensource software and are now a significant contributor to many projects. However, past actions by MS still cause contention with the opensource community causing strong reactions to the news.
The news fueled speculations of what might change, from the reasonable to the ridiculous. A common theme was native integration with Azure and Office 365 platforms such as teams. Less favourable speculations revolved around ad revenue and integration with LinkedIn and Bing. Personally, I think Clippy should make a return as a ChatBot.
As time allowed, I consumed as much information about the acquisition as I could through social media and news sites. At the time of writing, there isn’t much information available on what the impact of the merger will be.
Key points on the news:
- Nat Friedman named as GitHub CEO
- 28 Million developers use GitHub
- GitHub to operate independently
GitHub will operate independently as a community, platform, and business - Nat Friedman
Personally, I’m cautiously optimistic about the news. I think there is potential for this to be great for GitHub and the opensource community as a whole. MS isn’t the MS of the past, and they have significant resources which can be used to improve GitHub. The linchpin of my optimism is the announcement that GitHub will be ‘independent’.
MS is a business and businesses exist to make money. As a publicly traded business, the shareholders demand the status quo. How MS chooses to get value for it’s $7.5 Billion investment is a concern for many. Improving integration with their products is excellent, providing it doesn’t negatively impact current integrations.
Generation of ad revenue from GitHub is going to be a very delicate issue. Many current GitHub consumers are privacy advocates and are likely to change platforms if they feel their privacy jeopardised.
The free public repositories offered by GitHub are a vital reason for its popularity and changing this model is likely to cause a revolt.
I do feel that MS will do their best to keep GitHub what it is while improving the service. The companies recent adoption of opensource gives me hope in that regard. Along the way, mistakes will be made, but when that happens, they need to stay true to open source values. Admit wrong and rectify.