Throughout the late 90s and 2000s, the company waged a number of campaigns against Linux, the open-source operating system that former CEO Steve Ballmer famously called "a cancer". Since taking over, Nadella has pushed Microsoft to embrace open source technology, going so far as to make the company a sponsor of the influential open source advocacy group Open Source Initiative. But a US$5 billion price tag would certainly make GitHub one of the larger purchases in Microsoft's portfolio.
Apparently, this isn't the first time that Microsoft has considered purchasing GitHub.
That said, GitHub is more significant than Microsoft, and its unlikely its objective will be modified once the Redmond-based giant takes over day-to-day operations. One thing that will definitely happen if this acquisition goes through is GitHub's infrastructure moving to Microsoft's Azure cloud computing service. In August 2017, CEO Chris Wanstrath announced he would step down.
"If this was Steve Ballmer's Microsoft, particularly in the early years, the open source concerns would be valid", Enderle said. Microsoft has become the biggest contributor to the repository.
Microsoft is acquiring GitHub because it's a ideal fit for its own ambitions to be the go-to platform for every developer, and every developer need, no matter the platform. GitHub is critical for developers as it's the primary vehicle for them to collaborate and share ideas.
"Github has made it possible to be at the corner and center of any new application development these days", Holger Mueller, principal analyst and vice president at Constellation Research Inc., told SiliconANGLE. The price of the acquisition was $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock. "For Microsoft it means that it now owns an asset which matters to most developers". Now, assuming Bloomberg's report holds, the code repository service and developer community will be absorbed by Microsoft.
"GitHub doesn't compete with most companies, but Microsoft is a potential competitor or acquirer for a huge percentage of smaller companies in the tech industry", says Salibra. We don't want that.