What Microsoft’s recent purchase of GitHub means for your business

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On June 4th Microsoft announced its plan to acquire the popular developer platform GitHub for $7.5 billion, with the acquisition set to close later on in the year. While this news shouldn’t come as a surprise to those in the tech industry — after all, since Satya Nadella became CEO Microsoft has positioned itself as a key player in the open source community and is currently the single largest contributor to GitHub — many nevertheless feel that the move is a cause for concern.

As a quick refresher, GitHub is a website that developers use to store and share code. Founded in San Francisco in 2008, the site has grown into a platform used by over 27 million developers around the world, and currently hosts over 80 million code repositories. GitHub is not only the most used developer platform in the world, it has additionally come to represent the developer community as a whole; particularly the open source ethos of sharing and collaboration across traditional boundaries.

For businesses with multilingual customers around the world, GitHub plays a pivotal role in creating Global Content that can easily be adapted to different regions. For example, Global Content Partners interconnect directly with their clients’ GitHub repositories thereby greatly reducing developer effort required to roll out languages.

What does the acquisition entail?

According to the terms of the deal, the GitHub platform will become a part of Microsoft’s cloud computing unit. Furthermore, founder and CEO Chris Wanstrath will become a technical fellow at Microsoft. Satya Nadella has also released a statement about the acquisition, assuring the community that it will in no way detract from the utility and availability of the GitHub platform:

“We recognize the responsibility we take on with this agreement. We are committed to being stewards of the GitHub community, which will retain its developer-first ethos, operate independently and remain an open platform. We will always listen to developer feedback and invest in both fundamentals and new capabilities.”

What does this mean for businesses that use GitHub?

If Microsoft and its CEO are to be taken at face value, businesses who use GitHub have nothing to worry about: their code will continue to be hosted on the platform and their developers will continue to be a part of the community.

Looking at Microsoft’s track record, there is reason to assume this will be the case. When LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft in late 2016, for example, the site was largely unchanged for its users continued to operate with a significant degree of independence.

The true test, however, will be whether Microsoft’s key competitors decide to take their code off GitHub turn to another platform — or, as it quite possible, create a platform of their own. If this happens, the developer community risks becoming fragmented and losing its core philosophy of sharing and collaboration.

If you’re interested in learning about the benefits of a Trusted Global Content Partner, and how your company can navigate the ever-changing international business environment, get in touch with a member of the Rubric team today.

Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

Françoise Henderson


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