Microsoft announced that it has agreed to acquire the GitHub software development platform for $7.5 billion in stock. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to regulatory approval, and Microsoft said that GitHub will continue to operate independently.
Many developers use GitHub to handle version control for their projects, to collaborate with other people, and in some cases to distribute their software directly to their users. Buying the company will help Microsoft become a central part of many software developers' lives without requiring it to introduce new products or features of its own. One simple--and costly--acquisition can have a big impact on the entire industry.
Of course, being so essential to many developers' workflows means that any slight change to GitHub (let alone drastic ones) could alienate much of the platform's user base. It's no wonder, then, that Microsoft and GitHub were both quick to assure the platform's users that nothing will change in the near term as a result of this acquisition. Microsoft explained how it plans to manage GitHub in its press release:
"GitHub will retain its developer-first ethos and will operate independently to provide an open platform for all developers in all industries. 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 to any operating system, any cloud, and any device."
This is just the latest of Microsoft's efforts to connect with the developer community. The company acquired Xamarin, a cross-platform development tool, in 2016 to help devs target multiple platforms with their software. It's also steadily improved the Microsoft Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE) and hosts the annual Build conference to acquaint developers with upcoming Windows features.
Now the company will own the largest software development platform in the world. Microsoft said that GitHub is used around the world by developers from more than 1.5 million organizations in the tech, healthcare, and retail sectors, among others. The company expects GitHub to start contributing revenues to its Intelligent Cloud segment on a non-GAAP basis by 2020, roughly one year after the deal closes.