Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Microsoft Acquires GitHub. My thoughts!

The news came overnight of Microsoft announcing its acquisition of GitHub, something that was rumoured over the web in the last couple of days. I see a considerable outpouring of emotions in the developer community regarding this acquisition.

As someone whose first introduction (as a developer) to Microsoft was in the year 2001 learning what as beta versions of .Net development platform, I have passively watched the evolution Microsoft and other tech giants this century. I wasn't great at programming, but this experience, as well as subsequent ones, offered me a good perspective of the tech world.

My advice is, watch before you jump in joy at Microsoft acquisition of GitHub. The reasons are as follows:

A. Microsoft has a very questionable record about making meaningful sense with many of its big-ticket acquisitions. Cases in point - Skype(Loosely hanging in its portfolio, we used it a decade back, now we don't), Nokia(yes, the company we loved), Yammer(we used it then, we have forgotten it now, the interface anyway sucked), Linkedin( I mean what are they really doing about it? Has the user experience improved, or any new cutting-edge feature added, that couldn't have come without the MSFT edge?). Here's the official list of acquisitions by Microsoft.

B. Microsoft as a company has a very dominant internal thought that Windows and MS Office is its core, and everything else is subservient to it. It is the legacy of Bill Gates days, aptly reinforced in Steve Ballmer's stewardship. So we see Yammer now bundled with Office 365, for example.

So what can we expect from this acquisition? First, integration of GitHub to.Net Development platform. A new service to facilitate code level collaboration between developers in a more seamless way. A possible addition to the service bundle when tech organisations buy to .Net developer licenses. That's no doubt big, but then that's it.

I hope and pray that the dominant thought I have referred to above will not make it closed to the external ecosystem and let it thrive the way it is currently. But having seen the force of this dominant thought, I am not so confident. Having said that, I am not moving my code away from GitHub immediately.

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