Some events in the world of business and technology, like the purchase of GitHub by Microsoft, have far-reaching consequences. The presentation of the first iPhone in January 2007 became the beginning of the smartphones’ era, marking the sunset of button cell phones and mp3 players. Popularization of such social networks as Facebook and Vkontakte, marked the decline of ICQ messenger.
There are also other events, which are not connected with market change, innovative inventions and technological breakthroughs – they are related to commercial transactions, similar to the one that was disclosed in early June: Microsoft has bought GitHub. What does Microsoft’s GitHub acquisition mean for the IT market and how will this affect the blockchain developers? Coinstaker offers to take an objective look into this situation.
What is GitHub in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency?
GitHub is a kind of “social network” for developers from all over the world, released under the slogan “Build software better, together”. Since its creation in 2008, the service has gained recognition among free software developers (for example, GitHub hosts the Linux operating system code) and large IT corporations such as Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and many others.
In 2011, a few months after buying pizza for 10,000 BTC, GitHub registered more than a million users and created 2 million repositories. The popularity of the service grew from year to year – in 2017, already 24 million developers worked together on 67 million repositories within GitHub (repository – online “store” containing the software code in the public domain).
Obviously, blockchain developers couldn’t ignore GitHub – the growth in the number of users and repositories fell on the years of the development of blockchain-technology with the subsequent growth of its popularity. The number of edits in the GitHub code as an indicator of regular work has become a quality criterion for the many projects that the global blockchain community is watching. By the way, according to the Cryptomiso.com service, Bitcoin is on the 17th place in terms of the number of commits among all cryptocurrencies over the past 12 months.
Microsoft buys … and destroys?
On February 11, 2011, Microsoft and Nokia had announced strategic cooperation, and in 2013 Nokia mobile unit was sold for $ 5.4 billion. On May 9, 2011, Microsoft acquired Skype. June 04, 2018 Microsoft bought GitHub. It is noteworthy that the last two deals were concluded for amounts with a difference of $ 1 billion: $ 8.5 billion and $ 7.5 billion.
It’s hard to say how badly the purchase made by the software giant affected Nokia, Skype, Hotmail and other companies. Perhaps they were made at a time when the companies’ leaders preferred to sell the business because of the sad prospects and forecasts for the next couple of years. But one thing is certain – none of Microsoft’s acquisitions have become better with time. It is this fact that causes skepticism and circumspection in the blockchain community.
Unlike previous high-profile acquisitions, GitHub was not in a situation where changes in the market would threaten gloomy prospects. On the contrary, the service took place and year after year gained momentum. Whether this time the brainchild of Bill Gates really made a worthwhile acquisition? Well, time will tell.
What’s the problem?
In fact, the deal means nothing besides the fact that Microsoft bought Github. The problem lies in the prejudiced attitude of developers and representatives of the blockchain community to the new service owner. The world famous corporation acquired GitHub to clean up the cryptocurrency to its hands! Microsoft vs. developer blockchain – who will win? These are the headlines and topics for the tabloids.
“The bulk of blockchain projects use GitHub as a tool for spreading their open source code. But I think the panic, about the necessity to move to other sites ahead of schedule, is greatly exaggerated now. The market will put everything in its place, in case of any obvious problems at the service», – that’s how Daniel Minkov, CEO of Snowfox Technologies commented on the deal.
A similar opinion is shared by Vladimir van der Laan, developer of Bitcoin Core. He gave the following answer to the question about the need to transfer the Bitcoin repository: “No real hurry, but I expect this is the beginning of a long painful road of gh toward obsolence, possibly ending the same way as codeplex did”.
Sid Sijbrandij, CEO of Gitlab, spoke about the deal in a positive way: “The way developers produce, deliver and maintain code has changed significantly in the last ten years and we applaud GitHub for being a driving force supporting the vast independent developer community through this evolution. This acquisition affirms the global importance of software developers and their influence in the enterprise. Microsoft likely acquired GitHub so it could more closely integrate it with Microsoft Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and ultimately help drive compute usage for Azure.”
Microsoft itself used GitHub for its intended purpose for more than five years – 1,845 repositories. To purchase it, given the current popularity and demand was the right decision.
The question about the future of the project remains unresolved – if the issue happens, there are alternatives. GitLab is ready to accept all those who are not happy with the change of GitHub owners: in the first couple of days after the official confirmation of the deal, there was a panic surge in the migration of projects and repositories, but on June 7 everything fell right into place.
To sum up, it makes no sense to change one centralized service to another, until there is a project, the acquisition of which will be impossible. That is how another part of the blockchain community supposes, not succumbing to panic. The main thing is don’t let the projects lose the opportunity to share open sources.
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