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Microsoft Acquires GitHub For $7.5bn

Written by Daniel
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Following Microsoft’s announcement that it will be acquiring GitHub for $7.5 billion, the Flaunt Digital team sit down to discuss what impact this could have on the development community. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this…

See below for a full video transcription.



Jamie: So the last topic I want to talk about is Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub. Now this has been covered quite a bit. It’s a lot of money, $7.5 billion has been reported to be the fee. And it only got valued at $2 billion like, three or four years ago. So it’s gone up quite a bit. When you put this in perspective of the LinkedIn acquisition a couple of years ago, $26 million, that’s a lot of money, it’s quite small considering.

And a lot of developers in the tech crowd are a bit upset about this, because a lot of people are still hung up on Microsoft’s way of the world in the tech land from 10, 20 years ago when it’s pretty… Well, developers didn’t like Microsoft 10 years ago, but now they’ve sort of changed their ways. They’ve had a big shift in the company.

And they’re actually the biggest open-source contributor now, if you’re judging by GitHub usage, the biggest contributor on there. So there’s just tons of stuff that Microsoft have open-sourced recently. They’ve got the Visual Studio code editor which is built on a platform that GitHub have developed. So they’ve got their own called Atom. And then Visual Studio is a competitor of theirs. So people are hoping they don’t shut down Atom because that would be awful as they have a massive user base.

But other than that, I’m pretty happy with Microsoft taking over GitHub personally. I think they’ve come a long, long way in the open-source community. The Linux subsystem on Windows, for example, was a huge leap that no one would have ever, ever expected 10 years ago.

So they’ve really embraced open-source now. And it’s pretty good if they can keep the ship sailing really on GitHub. It’s going to be pretty cool to see what they do with it. And everyone just hopes they don’t do a Skype with it and just destroy it. Because that would be pretty bad. But I don’t think they will. I think they’ll leave it to its own devices.

The only shame really is that it’s not a neutral player anymore. So you’ve obviously got loads of big corporations using GitHub: Amazon, Google, Facebook. You don’t want them to look at it and go, “Microsoft owns it now. We need to get off there.” That’s why it was cool to have GitHub as a neutral player, housing all these big corporations. And obviously now, Microsoft is in control of that.

Lee: BitBucket will be like “come on”.

Jamie: Well, there was a graph that someone posted on Hacker News about there’s an import feature in GitLab to see how many people have imported from GitHub. And obviously, it spiked massively with people getting out of there. Essentially, GitLab is a competitor. It runs on Git, same technology. But yeah.

So there will be huge uptakes on all the rivals, I imagine, because of this. But it’s only a thing that’d happen for any sort of acquisition of this size in an industry where a neutral player becomes owned by a conglomerate, essentially. So interesting times. I imagine they’re not going to do a Skype on it. It would be a massive shame if they did.

But I’ve got a lot of trust in them now, in the open-source community. They’ve just recently done another thing that no one would have predicted 10, 15 years ago, in SQL Server’s now open-source. You can get that on Linux too. No one would have ever have thought that could have happened 10 to 15 years ago. But things have changed since the Bill Gates days when he was in charge there. So it’s all sort of changed now.

So GitHub will get a new CEO out of this. So obviously he might have a few new ideas. But I don’t think he’s going to rock the boat too much. They’ve put out some really cool announcements, GitHub, Microsoft, and the new CEO have all sort of put their own take on it on their own blogs. And they’re all pretty well lauded pieces. 

The new CEO especially has put out a really good piece. Saying how he loves GitHub and has been using it since year one, pretty much. And he’s a young chap. He’s not a dinosaur by any means. So he’s quite in there with the tech community, I believe. He’s not got an old-school vision of GitHub at all. So pretty cool. We’ll see what they do with it.

Hopefully they can lessen the monetization of it rather than increase it, so rather than go all enterprisey on it and start charging people a fortune, hopefully they can rein it in a bit and build the user base and the community even more. That would be great.

But essentially what they bought there is a community, because they actually had a competitor, that thing called CodePlex, which if I’m not mistaken, was also based on Git, or it had Git-integration. Just let me have a quick read of this article again.

But yeah. They had their own but no one used it. So they’re buying a massive, really active community in GitHub, really. So yeah. And GitHub is actually closed-source. So it’ll be interesting to see if they open-source that. I very much doubt it. But that’s one thing that GitLab and Bitbucket have got over GitHub is they actually have a solution you can take and do what you want with it, because GitHub’s primary platform is closed-source.

And there’s actually like, if you buy GitHub Enterprise, so like you get your own version, there’s terms in there that you can’t start a competitor with it, basically. Which makes sense. But it’s weird having a massive open-source company that’s essentially closed-source. I don’t think that will change. But interesting times. It’s always big news when neutral players in the tech world get acquired. LinkedIn’s the same isn’t it? When did that go through? 2015?

Lee: 16.

Jamie: 2016. Yeah. LinkedIn’s the same pretty much; had a bit of a shake-up in terms of the UI. It’s all AJAX now, isn’t it? But same old product that it’s always been. Same old product in it. Not like Skype. Skype’s totally…

Lee: Dead.

Jamie: Skype used to be the thing. It was a verb wasn’t it, “I’ll Skype you.” “Google it.” Now it’s just, no one even knows what it is anymore. Kids these days. “Facetime me.”

Chris: Talking of dinosaurs.

Jamie: Talking of dinosaurs. Yeah. Well, FaceTime is another topic for another day. But no one uses Skype now. It’s a shame.

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