Microsoft to acquire GitHub for $7.5B to solidify developer ties

More than 1.5 million companies use it as a software development repository.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
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Lori Grunin
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Left to right: Chris Wanstrath, GitHub CEO and co-founder; Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO; and Nat Friedman, Microsoft corporate vice president, Developer Services.

Richard Morgenstein/Microsoft

Microsoft  on Monday confirmed it has agreed to acquire GitHub, the top software-development platform in the world, for $7.5 billion in stock.

It's not much of a stretch to see why, given Microsoft's recent moves around cloud and AI development. The acquisition should help Microsoft expand its focus on developing AI, tools and services that work across devices. 

In its statement, Microsoft said:

Today, every company is becoming a software company and developers are at the center of digital transformation; they drive business processes and functions across organizations from customer service and HR to marketing and IT. And the choices these developers make will increasingly determine value creation and growth across every industry. GitHub is home for modern developers and the world's most popular destination for open source projects and software innovation. The platform hosts a growing network of developers in nearly every country representing more than 1.5 million companies across healthcare, manufacturing, technology, financial services, retail and more.

Those are the company's core markets. The rumor popped up over the weekend, and was officially announced in blog posts on both Microsoft's news site and GitHub itself.

Or, as Microsoft developer Miguel de Icaza tweeted: "Satya looked at Microsoft's bill from all the code we host on GitHub and figured it would be cheaper to buy the company."

Microsoft said GitHub will continue to operate independently and "provide an open platform for all developers in all industries." Founded in 2008, GitHub hosts 27 million software developers working on 80 million repositories of code. 

The acquisition comes amid GitHub's nearly year-long search for a new CEO, as well as its first profit from its services. Nat Friedman, Microsoft's corporate vice president, will take on the role of GitHub CEO as part of the deal. 

"We have been searching for a new CEO for some time and found in both Microsoft and Nat a partner we believe will strengthen and grow the GitHub community and company over the next few years," said GitHub co-founder and current CEO Chris Wanstrath, who will become a Microsoft technical fellow, in a statement. "Nat has a ton of experience with software and the open source software community, having co-founded Xamarin and worked on numerous open source projects over the years, and is the perfect person to help GitHub grow and continue to make life better for developers."

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of 2018.

Inside Microsoft's lab with the Xbox Adaptive Controller

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First published June 4, 6:48 a.m. PT.
Update, 8:32 a.m. PT: Adds more details on Microsoft's plan to acquire GitHub.
Update, 12:39 p.m. PT: Adds information about GitHub's new CEO.