Why Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub is a cool thing?

Nikhil Arora
3 min readJun 17, 2018


If you are into Open Source Development, you may have heard about the recent acquisition of GitHub by Microsoft.

This acquisition was followed by a series of opinions, most of which focused on “how bad it is”.

Here are some of them —

People made fun of everyone’s favourite personal assistant, Clippy.
People also made jabs at Window’s habit of updating.
#movingtogitlab became viral.

Why are People so Adamant about Microsoft?

Let’s go a little back in time to find out the reason behind the bad reputation of Microsoft:

  1. Halloween Documents: A series of memoranda were leaked by a Microsoft employee in the late 90’s. The memoranda conveyed Microsoft’s desire to “disrupt the progress of open source software.
  2. Windows Vista: It ran at a snail’s pace unless you turned off Aero (which was the main reason behind upgrading to Vista).
  3. Internet Explorer: Microsoft’s official web browser was really, really slow. On top of that, it also had problems displaying web pages correctly.
    Microsoft Edge provides a little better option, but it still lags behind modern day browsers.

Reasons like these led to the distrust of people in Microsoft and its subsidiaries.

Analysing the Acquisition

Just like every action has an equal an opposite reaction, the acquisition has both good and bad sides to it.

Let’s discuss both in detail.

The Positive Side

  1. GitHub was getting into financial troubles — which doesn’t exist after the acquisition.
  2. GitHub’s feature pool was not growing — due to its slim budget, the feature pool was somehow getting stagnant. Microsoft’s support will eventually help GitHub grow, by expanding the feature pool.
  3. Microsoft has been instrumental in open source development from the past few years. This can also be concluded from the fact that Microsoft, itself is the most active contributor on GitHub (with around 2 million commits).
    Also, its new CEO Satya Nadella has a great attitude towards open source development.
  4. Integration of LinkedIn Careers and GitHub Jobs — can help serve developers across the world, by providing more job opportunities at a global level.

The Negative Side

  1. GitHub was an independent company — whose main motive was to provide a reliable platform for Version Control. The motive may deviate after the acquisition (to accommodate for Microsoft’s goals).
  2. Azure (The Cloud Platform) — With GitHub being a Microsoft thing now, we will probably see the focus shift to Azure, Microsoft’s Cloud Platform as opposed to providing independence.
  3. The overlapping products — Microsoft offers an alternative to almost every service GitHub offers. For instance, Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code and GitHub’s Atom are pitted against each other.
    It would be interesting to see how this turns up.

GitHub, in the long run, will help to serve Microsoft’s purpose to get the developer community to its court.

Wrapping Up

The despise about this deal would have made complete sense if it had occurred just 5 years ago. But now, Nadella’s Microsoft is much different from what it used to be.

  1. They have been instrumental in hiring some of the best engineers from across the world.
  2. They are also committed to the world of open source.

Thus, in my opinion, the acquisition of GitHub is kind of cool. There is a high probability that it may serve as the reason behind the improvement of open source development in the coming years.

Let’s see what happens!