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Microsoft's purchase of GitHub from a developer's perspective

Windows 11 has finally copied a function that we have in Linux for years: control the volume only with the mouse wheel Windows 11 has finally copied a function that we have in Linux years ago: control the volume only with the mouse wheel. Anyway, like almost all bomb news, the rumor that Microsoft was interested in acquiring the world's leading open source repository, GitHub, came to me through social media laden with uncertainty and mistrust.

What has not been surprising has been the over reaction of the developer community, where the old torches of the inexhaustible war between the fanboys (pro) and the Taliban (anti) Microsoft were lit.

And for this reason, I want to contribute to the extensive debate and the hundreds of articles that run through social networks, the point of view of various developers with whom I have talked about the controversial purchase.

What is GitHub?

In April 2005 Linus Torvalds, the father of the Linux operating system, designed a code control engine called Git with the purpose of having a decentralized system that would allow him to work in the way that the tools of the moment did not allow him. His success was immediate and his adoption by the developer community quickly grew to become the most widely used code manager in the world.

Using this repository as a cornerstone, in 2008 Chris Wanstrath, PJ Hyett, and Tom Preston-Werner founded GitHub with the ultimate purpose of building tools for the development community, laying the foundations for the platform that hosts more than 28 million users, and exceeds 85 million repositories.

Even though it offers a private and enterprise repository service, the success of GitHub comes from its adoption as a de facto standard for the publication of open source projects, and its operation mainly based on Pull Request; collaborative construction technique widely applied in open source development. GitHub is very popular among developers, even from day to day more and more people decide to buy GitHub account in order to achieve a certain reputation in the world of work.

Its success is such that it is almost mandatory to have a repository on GitHub to be able to get the title of "developer"; even becoming a fundamental part of the professional curriculum, such as the Linkedin profile or the presence in social networks and community events. And, even beyond the storage of the source code, it is used to distribute documentation, blogs, information, static web pages, etc.

GitHub Accounts - Why was the destination the Stock Market or the purchase?

As a good example of a start-up, GitHub is not profitable compared to the volume of investment it has been receiving. At the beginning, when the money came from its three founders, the annual result was positive in relation to the significant growth rate they achieved.

But the alarms began to sound when the reputed medium Bloomberg published a report showing that GitHub's rate of spending, to continue growing and protect itself from its competitors, had reached 66 million dollars in 9 months. Things had to start to turn ant-colored (there is no access to the figures) when in August 2017 Chris Wanstrath, founder and CEO of the company, set foot in dust (or was forced) and there was no way to find one new head to direct the steps of the company. All analysts saw only three solutions, one of which (the shutdown) would have meant both an economic disaster for investors and a problem with enormous repercussions for the software development community.

Another option was to prepare an IPO based on the trust of a robust platform, which has beaten competitors of the caliber of Google Code, Sourceforge and CodePlex, and which has millions and millions of customers supporting the service. But with the disadvantage of being a little "small" even to enter the game of financial speculation; there being a certain risk that it would go wrong, and lose what little credit it could have left.

The last option, and which is the one that has been the winner, is to sell the platform to one of the largest in the sector such as Google, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, or similar. Eliminating all financial problems at a stroke and obtaining more than succulent benefits. And it has turned out very well. At the time of the sale, GitHub was over estimated at about two billion dollars, and Microsoft has put more than triple the money on the table: 7.5 billion.

Why did Microsoft buy it?

CodePlex was the public code repository created and maintained by Microsoft from 2006 to the end of 2017, where they closed before the unstoppable boom and the adoption of GitHub as the main platform to publish the source code of the company's Open Source projects.

This adoption was also shown in the development tools, from which I can connect my projects with the Team Foundation Version Control engine, Git or GitHub, indistinctly. Additionally, more and more information, documents, and training materials are being posted on GitHub. Being the platform chosen by Azure for its Infrastructure as Code deployment template repositories.

In other words, Microsoft recognized and gave in to the reality that the combination of Git + GitHub was unbeatable and had been chosen by the community to manage the code.

And now, taking advantage of the financial vicissitudes that GitHub was going through, it makes sense to propose a strategic preventive acquisition of a platform that has become critical and backbone in the development business, to avoid that it could be acquired by competitors of the stature of Google or Oracle, which could bring you serious functional problems. Let's remember Google's recent anti-Microsoft policy, which has caused so much annoyance to users.

For developers who use the Microsoft stack, we are in luck because a much closer integration throughout the development cycle is expected, and the result of the integration of GitHub with Visual Studio Team Services can be very interesting.


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