It was a sad feeling (as a user and fan) that Microsoft acquired GitHub, even though they paid a big check of $7bn! The first reason for my sadness is that, being one of the darlings of developer centric tools used by over 20 million developers, I feel it was better for the developer community if GitHub stayed independent from big software vendors. The second reason is that this acquisition just reinforces the monopoly held by big tech companies such as Microsoft who use their vast cash reserves and distribution power to get rid of startups, that one day could compete with them on certain verticals. Of course Microsoft is not the only big tech company doing this, and to be honest I admire some of the steps taken by Satya Nadella regarding a more open Microsoft since taking over as CEO. Better than Mr. Ballmer for sure!
In respect to GitHub as a private company. Being a VC backed startup meant large exit was always the number one priority for their Silicon Valley backers e.g. Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoai. In this case $7bn was from these backers point of view an offer that is very hard to refuse given that the last known valuation of GitHub was thought to be circa $2bn. According to PitchBook Andreessen Horowitz will rack more than $1bn from the acquisition, with Sequoia probably not far behind as the second largest investor.
For Microsoft, they definitely get something better than TFS and perhaps attract developers already working with Microsoft tech (e.g .Net) to use GitHub with other Microsoft services such as Azure. However, I am skeptical that this acquisition will help Microsoft Azure catch up with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as many industry pundits are claiming.
So what do developers feel about the deal?
To find out, I ran a twitter poll on the day of the acquisition announcement asking developers following me and Nanosai.com about their feelings regarding the acquisition. The vast majority (53%) of the 686 developers who took the poll had bad feelings about the acquisition, whereas 24% had good feelings and 23% not sure. Of course, in the universe of over 20 million developers using GitHub, 686 may look trivial sample.
I couldn`t resist the temptation to play with a larger sample and so I would like to run a new survey within Hackernoon developer community to see if the feelings hold!
*** Please feel free to complete (less than 60 seconds) Hackernoon Survey — GitHub Acquisition and share with your colleagues. If the responses are large enough we will send them to Microsoft to remind Satya Nadella and others to not screw up!:)
Finally, I am still wondering if GitHub couldn`t have done better by staying independent through an IPO or even ICO!:) What do you think? Feel free to leave your comment!