GitHub: Microsoft to buy software development platform for $7.5bn

Terms of any potential deal not known – GitHub was last valued at $2bn in 2015

Ben Chapman
Monday 04 June 2018 12:40 BST
Microsoft is now one of the largest contributors to GitHub
Microsoft is now one of the largest contributors to GitHub (Reuters)

Microsoft has bought the code repository GitHub for $7.5bn (£5.6bn). GitHub is popular with developers and companies which use the site to host their projects, documents and code.

The move will allow the software giant to get closer to the developer community that can enhance its products.

“Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness and innovation,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft. “We recognise the community responsibility we take on with this agreement and will do our best work to empower every developer to build, innovate and solve the world’s most pressing challenges.”

The deal marks a turnaround for Microsoft which once saw open source developers – who share and improve each others code – as a threat to its proprietary software business model.

Former chief executive Steve Ballmer was highly critical of programmes built through open source platforms like GitHub.

Since Mr Nadella took over in 2014, that approach has changed and Microsoft has been more supportive towards open source options.

Microsoft pledged to keep a “developer-first” approach at GitHub which will operate independently.

Developers will continue to be able to use the programming languages and tools of their choice and to deploy their code wherever they wish, Microsoft has promised.

The company is moving away from a reliance on its proprietary Windows operating system (OS), which has been the backbone of its success for decades. Under Mr Nadella, Microsoft has begun to develop more software on Linux, an open source OS.

Microsoft is now one of the largest contributors to GitHub and has used open source models on some significant products.

A number of developers expressed anger at the deal, which they said would undermine the community ethos of the platform.

Some took to social media on Monday to say they would move to rival services such as Bitbucket or GitLab.

GitHub has become an essential tool for developers to store their work and collaborate on projects.

Despite this, it has made significant recent losses and has been seeking a new chief executive since September.

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