How Things Change

The big news in developer circles this week is that Microsoft acquired GitHub. I admit that the news didn’t fill me with happiness since I’m not a fan of the trend of everything being gobbled up by a handful of big companies. But Microsoft has been making a rather dramatic shift in recent years. The company has becoming far friendlier towards the open source community and has been releasing a lot of terrific developer tools. This shift has made me hopeful that Microsoft will be a good steward for GitHub. Moreover, things could have turned out far worse:

Microsoft was not alone in chasing GitHub, which it agreed to acquire for $7.5 billion on Monday. Representatives from Alphabet’s Google were also talking to the company about an acquisition in recent weeks, according to people familiar with the deal talks.

Not too long ago if you had told me that both Microsoft and Google were looking to acquire GitHub, I’d have hoped for Google. But today I’m happy that of the two companies Microsoft ended up buying GitHub.

The biggest problem I have with Google, besides its business model based on surveilling users, is its habit of abandoning products. Google Reader, Google Talk, Google Health, Google Wave, and more have been discontinued by Google. Some of the products were discontinued shortly after they were released and/or were discontinued with little notice given to users. Microsoft, on the other hand, is well-known for supporting products for a long time and giving reasonable notice when it does decide to discontinue a product. If Google had acquired GitHub, there’s no telling how long it would have been kept around. Since Microsoft acquired GitHub, it’ll probably be around for a long time.

It’s funny how things can change so rapidly. Google was the darling child of the technology industry but now its star is descending. Meanwhile, Microsoft went from the epitome of evil but is now improving its reputation.