Siddharth Bhattacharya

@TravelNTech

What I think on GitHub acquisition… as a Microsoft employee

And my thoughts on the backlash

Recently a question popped on my Quora feed where I was asked to answer:

As a Microsoft employee, are you surprised at the backlash over the GitHub acquisition? How do you feel about it? How about your coworkers?

There was a significant backlash, but was I surprised? Not at all. I reasoned it’s mostly a knee-jerk reaction and not much different from #DeleteFacebook movement or #DeleteUber movement to show disapproval of a big news in tech. I’d say it’s expected. I am also pretty positive the execs were prepared for this. However the interesting part of the question is the reaction “as a Microsoft employee” and where it differs from the tech observer outside.

An important aspect to understanding employee reactions is employees often choose their job based on whose interview they can clear, not necessarily who their heart beats for. Thus Microsoft- like every other company- has the entire spectrum of employees from “Microsoft is evil” to “Microsoft is god” . So the opinions on Github acquisition inside are pretty similar to the reaction outside Microsoft. However understandably with time employees “drink the kool aid”, and opinions will skew favourably to Microsoft.

GithubExodus

My personal take on the issue is I understand where the criticism comes from. The open-source movement gained steam with an anti-Microsoft rallying cry. Having Microsoft buy out the face of contemporary open-source movement feels like a coup d état. I also empathize with concerns of Github becoming a failure under new management rather than as an independent entity. However concerns like Microsoft stealing code are vastly exaggerated as I’ve elaborated in this linked article.

Here are some reactions specific to Microsoft employees:

  1. Wow, $7.5 bn in stock. Wish they gave more stocks to me too. Maybe they could start with some free food in the meantime.
  2. Oh well, at least the stocks I have seems to be going up in price as the market has reacted positively to it. Yay, I am richer!
  3. Relief or pride: Lots of employees would like to distance themselves from Ballmer-era tactics and hostility to open source. Nadella’s embrace of it starting with Linux, becoming largest contributor and now buying Github shows a serious commitment.
  4. Maybe we can all move away from source depot finally
  5. Working on GitHub features will look cool on my resume

I am not representing Microsoft here, and views expressed are my own

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