Microsoft to Acquire GitHub for $7.5 Billion
The name GitHub may not mean much to you, but for developers it's a big deal. GitHub is the largest host of source code in the world; it hosts over 57 million project repositories and over 28 million users rely on it to keep that code safe and accessible. Now Microsoft owns it.
Bloomberg initially reported a rumor that Microsoft was about to acquire GitHub, and now Microsoft has confirmed the acqusition for an eye-watering $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock. Back in 2015, the company was valued at roughly $2 billion.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella confirmed the acqusition, stating "Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness and innovation. ... We recognize 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."
Talk of an acquisition concerned developers yesterday, who were understandably worried about what Microsoft would do to the service. Microsoft is focused on selling proprietary software, whereas GitHub has always been a friend of open source, offering free accounts to such projects. Activity overnight reflected this concern is real, with GitHub alternative GitLab enjoying a huge surge is project migrations from GitHub.
Developers can relax a little, though. Microsoft explained that, "GitHub will retain its developer-first ethos and will operate independently to provide an open platform for all developers in all industries." In other words, GitHub will continue to operate as normal, without any big changes happening, at least for now.
In terms of management changes, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Nat Friedman, founder of Xamarin, will become GitHub CEO. Chris Wanstrath, current CEO, will become a Microsoft technical fellow working on strategic software initiatives.
Speaking of the acquisition, Wanstrath said, "I'm extremely proud of what GitHub and our community have accomplished over the past decade, and I can't wait to see what lies ahead. The future of software development is bright, and I'm thrilled to be joining forces with Microsoft to help make it a reality. ... Their focus on developers lines up perfectly with our own, and their scale, tools and global cloud will play a huge role in making GitHub even more valuable for developers everywhere."
The acquisition won't be finalized until customary closing conditions and a regulatory review is completed. After that, I expect the first thing to happen behind the scenes is GitHub becoming a service hosted on Microsoft's Azure cloud computing infrastructure. Beyond that, expect a softly-softly approach to introducing anything new that may scare off developers and projects.
Editor's note: This story was updated at 9:35 a.m. ET with confirmation from Microsoft.