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Microsoft Businesses Open Source Programming Software The Almighty Buck Technology

Microsoft Is Said to Have Agreed to Acquire Coding Site GitHub (bloomberg.com) 323

Bloomberg reports:
Microsoft Corp. has agreed to acquire GitHub Inc., the code repository company popular with many software developers, and could announce the deal as soon as Monday, according to people familiar with the matter. GitHub preferred selling the company to going public and chose Microsoft partially because it was impressed by Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. Terms of the agreement weren't known on Sunday. GitHub was last valued at $2 billion in 2015.

GitHub is an essential tool for coders. Many corporations, including Microsoft and Alphabet Inc.'s Google, use GitHub to store their corporate code and to collaborate. It's also a social network of sorts for developers. While GitHub's losses have been significant -- it lost $66 million over three quarters in 2016 -- it had revenue of $98 million in nine months of that year.

On Friday, it was reported that Microsoft was in talks with GitHub about an acquisition. Now it seems like it's actually happening.

Update: Our sister site, SourceForge, has weighed in. Here is a tool that will import your GitHub project to SourceForge.
Update #2: Already, we are seeing plenty of backlash over this news. One user has started a petition to stop Microsoft from buying GitHub.
Update #3: It's official. Microsoft has acquired GitHub for a whopping sum of $7.5B.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Is Said to Have Agreed to Acquire Coding Site GitHub

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    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2018 @06:11PM (#56721804)

      What's the business model, inquiring minds want to know?

      How long until you need a microsoft account to use github?

      How long until commercial customers also need to subscribe to Office 365?

      Given other activity by Microsoft, I wonder if Software Freedom Conservancy needs to step in and protect the Git mark.

      (https://www.git-scm.com/about/trademark section 2.3)

      • by wizkid ( 13692 )

        Oh just give micro shat your name address phone number and date of birth now and get it over with

        You forgot SSN, employer and income and Credit card#.

        $M needs it all

  • by StandardCell ( 589682 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @05:02PM (#56721460)
    It remains to be seen how much Microsoft has paid for GitHub, but why pay anything if they're unprofitable?

    I keep seeing the same behavior that happened during the first dotcom boom - companies valued at stupid multiples of "earnings", including what are technically negative earnings, being valued far in excess of their worth. A company is only worth its future profits discounted at the rate of the next best investment of that money, minus its initial and ongoing investments. The longer it takes to return a profit, the exponentially more difficult it is to recover the initial investment. Only a fundamental change or an external factor like currency inflation can distort that picture into a supposedly rosy one.

    Perhaps GitHub can have some of its cost structures reduced by riding on Microsoft's coattails. Perhaps there's some breakthrough that Microsoft can see with them, although I don't think there's a tremendous synergy there. The basic model has been there before (SourceForge), and it could technically be duplicated again by someone else. Many developers/repos will simply bail due to Microsoft's history of changing business terms. Heck, they rolled "Teams" out which is supposed to compete with Slack.

    More power to the current owners of GitHub if they get bought out, as it's a great tool. I just think P.T. Barnum really was right, and I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop in this latest boom.
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      It remains to be seen how much Microsoft has paid for GitHub, but why pay anything if they're unprofitable?

      Because thanks to the magic of ToS that can be changed on a whim, Microsoft can just magik in a "all your codes belongs to us" clause.

    • GitHub has been profitable for years.
    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @05:43PM (#56721660)

      It remains to be seen how much Microsoft has paid for GitHub, but why pay anything if they're unprofitable

      The classic Economics answer, is that you believe that it is unprofitable because it is poorly managed, and that you can do a better job of managing it to profitability. This usually means that you can integrate it with your existing businesses, streamline, and cut a lot of costs. This also usually includes massive layoffs at the purchased company, accompanied by folks jumping ship to look elsewhere for a job, before they are eventually fired.

      IBM's ThinkPad business was unprofitable when Lenovo bought it. Lenovo turned it around into profitability.

      Of course, there are often other ulterior motives. Microsoft bought Nokia because they thought Nokia built hardware would help Windows Phone be a success.

      Microsoft was wrong. So they did what any other rational investor would do . . . cut your losses and let it die.

      We'll see in about a year what Github's fate is . . . profitability . . . or death . . .

    • by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @06:05PM (#56721774) Journal

      Microsoft just bought developer mindshare. And, I'll bet there is a behind-the-scenes migration of GitHub's hosting to Azure before 2019 as they can just use unused cloud compute resources that would be idle cycles otherwise to host.

      What does that do to the cost model?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2018 @06:52PM (#56721968)

        > migration of GitHub's hosting to Azure

        Interesting tactic. If I remember correctly from what my friend said that's a director at Mindtree that does support for Azure, they have over 700 services of which many basically see no usage. The list:

        https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/ [microsoft.com]

        I guess if you can't get people to use your products, buying customers is your only choice. I just wish they would reduce prices instead. In our trial, we found that Azure was about 25% more expensive than AWS for our use case.

      • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @12:42AM (#56722958) Journal

        The cost model is you will see github called VIsual Studio Github 365 online. Sure you can use the web interface for free like Office 365 but the real goodies requires Visual Studio or Visual Studio Code if you are poor or on Linux.

        We will see gVFS Git Virtual File System and backup utilities for larger projects and online collobaration tools added ... but they require a Visual Studio subscription to turn these on etc. But for simple things it will remain free.

        This is what happened to LinkedIN. It is still free but if you want to post your resume or make networking connections with customers or talk to HR it costs $30 a month for the pro version etc.

        Since MS submitted GVFS to Linus he can fork it and offer the same service for free with another provider if this becomes a problem.

    • by reanjr ( 588767 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @06:25PM (#56721872) Homepage

      GitHub is highly strategic. It's value extends beyond its revenue to its brand, its momentum, and its position at the crux of the exceedingly important developer demograpchic. If they mostly sit on it, they can use it to effectively push MS's FOSS projects over competitors that marginalize MS's own proprietary products.

      What comes to mind for me is Node.js. It's one of the first really popular developer platforms to come around that really made Windows a second class citizen. MS has pushed their way into the community and found solutions to those issues, but it shows how MS is vulnerable in this space.

      Especially since their biggest desktop competitor (OS X) is much more compatible with their largest server competitor (Linux), and aligned with the mobile OSes which actively undermine MS's position as a dominant player. It's a perfect shit storm for MS.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Why are unprofitable companies worth so much?

      I think the short answer is that if you have anything that's big and popular somebody will buy it and try to monetize it or integrate it into their portfolio. Consider it a way of buying access to a market, even if the app with a million users isn't making money it's a million people you could try to sell some add-on service to. And you wouldn't be cold calling them, the option would be there teasing you whether it's selling hats in TF2 or Azure cloud hosting. Unless the bubble bursts and nobody wants to ma

    • by jythie ( 914043 )
      One issue is too much investment capital (and its associated expectations) and not enough good opportunities to invest it in. It is one of the things causing behind the scenes friction with the 'trade deficit' obsession we see today. A lof that trade money comes back as investment dollars, which increases competition for investment opportunities that domestic investors have to fight over.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2018 @05:06PM (#56721482)

    And were suddenly erased.

  • by fisted ( 2295862 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @05:08PM (#56721490)

    Why hello, Gitlab

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@wo[ ]3.net ['rld' in gap]> on Sunday June 03, 2018 @05:48PM (#56721690) Homepage Journal

      I hear Bit Bucket is good too.

      Both offer unlimited private repos.

      • by Memnos ( 937795 )

        Bitbucket works pretty well, especially within the rest of the Atlassian suite. Of course then you're within a bit of walled garden as far as higher level interaction with the VCS, but it's still standard Git repos at the base of it, unless you go with Mercurial. It's free for a small number of developers in a private repo, and pretty cheap at scale.

      • by e432776 ( 4495975 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @11:09PM (#56722722)
        My laziness in never moving from Sourceforge appears to be .. paying off??
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Gitlab is a dumpsterfire on resources. It uses 12GB RAM and 0.5 load avg on an E3-1270v6 while *sitting idle*.

      Self-hosted gogs [gogs.io] is the way to go. It runs on a raspberry pi or in the cloud on a $2/mo bargain basement VPS no problem.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Gitea [gitea.io] is a fork with more features and security patches that has left Gogs behind.

      • It is? Maybe you have configured gitlab wrong, but right now the entire VM it's setting on here is only 2.3GiB hardly 12GiB as you say. Oh and this is the stock Debian package. Have a different result? Then your distro is a dumpster file and you should git rid of it. (using your logic)
    • There is always Amazon CodeCommit...

      • by fisted ( 2295862 )

        Yeah, no.

  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @05:21PM (#56721552) Homepage Journal
    But now that MS has acquired Github, it too shall be turned to shit just like practically every other online acquisition MS has made since... ever. Time to move to Bitbucket or Gitlab
  • All Your Repos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Memnos ( 937795 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @05:32PM (#56721598) Journal

    are belong to us.

  • Update: Our sister site, SourceForge, has weighed in.

    Hey cool. The Digg of source code repositories still thinks it’s relevant.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Update: Our sister site, SourceForge, has weighed in.

      Hey cool. The Digg of source code repositories still thinks it’s relevant.

      They aren't relevant yet. This is the second chance. One of GitLab, Sourceforge, BitBucket or a completely new entrant is going to end up the winner. The question is, which one? Let's start the bidding war.

      I believe the opening bid is GitLab with, "you can get a reasonable open source version of the bits of our web site you care about but without the statistics and other commercial features". Who's going to raise us a statistics module?

  • Come tomorrow morning, millions of CI pipelines will break. Nobody will remember npm left-pad anymore.
  • Obviously.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beheaderaswp ( 549877 ) * on Sunday June 03, 2018 @05:44PM (#56721674)

    That's where my code won't be.

    No way.

    I've been kicked in the face, in a business damaging way, by Microsoft acquisitions. In fact a couple of times.

    There's no way that my intellectual property, open source or not, will be under Microsoft control.

  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @05:47PM (#56721688)

    Microsoft might not ruin this, but on their history, I'll actively have one foot out the door, rather than passively.

    I was somewhat active on LinkedIn — until Microsoft bought it.

    I was somewhat active on Goodreads — until Amazon bought it.

    Because with these large corporations, you just never know what of retroactive TOS root canal is coming down the turnpike, on any given day.

    Once these corporations get to a certain size, it almost takes radioactive blow-back from the community to deflect their course in any meaningful way. And I don't enjoy the galloping pony-swap for the duration as this plays out.

  • Deleted my github accounts this morning, moved to internal repos.

    RIP Github!

  • by Ross Finlayson ( 17913 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @06:11PM (#56721802) Homepage

    "GitHub is an essential tool for coders"

    No it's not. It's a *useful* tool for *many* coders. Many other coders use other cloud-based source code control services - or none at all.

    It's important that we be precise in our language, and stop resorting to hyperbole.

  • by srichard25 ( 221590 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @06:20PM (#56721846)

    If Microsoft does acquire Github, does that mean that they will instantly have access to all the private repos from Google, Apple, IBM, etc?

  • This makes me wonder what will happen to Atom, the text editor which is developed by GitHub and shares similar features to Microsoft's VS Code.
  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @06:54PM (#56721972)

    The people I feel most sorry for are commercial customers of github paying for version control as a service.

    Waking up one day to find out your competitor is not only hosting but has access to all your proprietary source code must royally suck.

  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @08:08PM (#56722240)

    Given what Microsoft has done to Visual Studio as of late (support for building apps on Linux, Android, iOS and other platforms, major efforts towards making Visual Studio compliant to the latest C++ standards, open sourcing core parts of .NET and generally being much more developer friendly) I cant see a purchase of Github being the end of the world.

  • So whereâ(TM)s everybody going to go? GitLab? Sourceforge (second coming....)
  • by bigmacx ( 135216 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @08:52PM (#56722356)

    Certainly will start farming code and ideas from all those private repos. Probably quite a few MS competitors and suppliers of their competitors use Github. I've always thought Github was a secret gem for harvesting IP from.

  • Confirmation? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mozai ( 3547 ) on Sunday June 03, 2018 @09:19PM (#56722428) Homepage
    How many people have taken drastic action based on one reporter saying they know (an unknown) someone who knows (undescribed) relevant things?
  • One user has started a petition to stop Microsoft from buying GitHub.

    Yeah, that'll have MS quaking in their boots. And if that doesn't work, we shall pout in your general direction a zecond time!

  • Their own open source hosting site at Codeplex didn't pull in the numbers so they shuttered it.

    Now they've decided they need something in that area they just go out and try to buy the market...

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