Microsoft to Acquire GitHub, Home of Bitcoin and Blockchain Code Repositories - Bitsonline

Microsoft to Acquire GitHub, Home of Bitcoin and Blockchain Code Repositories

In a move guaranteed to surprise (and possibly dismay) many in the open source software community, Microsoft has reportedly agreed to acquire code repository and developer collaboration tool GitHub. The move would see Bitcoin and most high-profile blockchain project code hosted on a Microsoft-owned platform.

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World’s Most Popular Open Source Software Repository

Bloomberg first leaked news of the deal yesterday, and it was finally made official this morning U.S. Eastern Time. The news agency reported that GitHub had been impressed by Microsoft’s more open source-friendly CEO Satya Nadella, who took over in 2014.

GitHub has faced problems similar to other popular mostly-free online communities — namely, how to turn that popularity into income. That said, The San Francisco-based company has nearly 800 employees and in 2017 passed $200 million USD in annualized revenue. Its own investors had valued it at around $2 billion.

GitHub logo

GitHub is the most popular platform for (particularly open source) software development collaboration and version tracking. Its repositories include many of the best known projects in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, including Bitcoin itself.

It has over 20 million users and hosts around 60 million software project repositories.

Good News? Not for Some

Given Microsoft’s size, history and reputation as a rapacious software conglomerate, many in the open source software community did not welcome the news.

Is a Microsoft – GitHub Matchup Really Surprising These Days?

However there are signs the software behemoth is, these days, not your father’s Microsoft. That is, if your father lived in the 80s and 90s and remembers the corporation nicknamed “M$” as a Borg Cube piloted by ruthless geek Bill Gates and hyperactive salesman Steve Ballmer.

That Microsoft was often the bête noire of open source developers and supporters.

It was famous for muscling competitors out of the market and particularly those offering competitor products for free, practices that eventually saw it hounded by the U.S. Department of Justice in the form of several antitrust suits over its Windows operating system and the Internet Explorer browser.

Other users are unable to forgive Microsoft for far worse misdeeds in the 1990s:

Ballmer stepped down as CEO in February 2014, and Bill Gates also stood aside as charman to become an “advisor”.

Since then, Nadella, has taken a Microsoft in a different direction, even taking the once-unthinkable action of open-sourcing several MS products like PowerShell and Visual Studio Code. Its open source-friendly direction has also seen the company host some of its code on GitHub and embrace Linux.

Acquiring GitHub could signal an even greater commitment to open source software development. However for some, memories of a different era are still fresh and it will take many years to convince them Microsoft’s motives are genuine.

Bitsonline will continue to monitor this developing story.

Will GitHub still be the same under Microsoft ownership? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.


Images via Mashable, GitHub, Bitsonline

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