Microsoft is going boldly into open source with $7.5B deal to buy GitHub

Microsoft is throwing its arms around GitHub with its $7.5 billion deal to buy the open source software developers' community.

After recent speculation over whether the deal would reach fruition, Microsoft made it official on Monday when it announced that it would buy the popular coding platform in an all-stock deal that, pending regulatory approvals, is slated to close later this year.

More than 28 million developers share their projects on GitHub, with Microsoft being the most active participant. GitHub is home to more than 85 million code repositories that are used by developers in almost every country.

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In a company blog, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella pledged that GitHub would remain an open platform.

"Developers will continue to be able to use the programming languages, tools and operating systems of their choice for their projects—and will still be able to deploy their code on any cloud and any device," Nadella wrote.

Nadella said that Microsoft would accelerate business developers’ use of GitHub with its direct sales team and partner channels along with access to Microsoft’s global cloud computing infrastructure and existing corporate partnerships.

"Finally, we will bring Microsoft’s developer tools and services to new audiences," Nadella said. "Most importantly, 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."

During Steve Ballmer's tenure as CEO, Microsoft was vocally opposed to open source, but that started to change once Nadella was named CEO in 2014.

"When it comes to our commitment to open source, judge us by the actions we have taken in the recent past, our actions today and in the future," Nadella wrote in his blog.

Once the deal closes, open source veteran Nat Friedman, who was the founder of Xamarin and currently a corporate vice president at Microsoft, will take over the reins as GitHub's CEO. GitHub's current CEO and co-founder, Chris Wanstrath, will become a Microsoft technical fellow. Both Friedman and Wanstrath will report to Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Microsoft Cloud + AI group.

Two years ago, Nadella and Microsoft announced the $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn.