Last year’s acquisition of GitHub by Microsoft got quite a few standing in opposition on their hind heels. The Redmond giant is known for its opposition to open-source. And developers are known for their approval of open-source. Hence the fierce statements when the acquisition announcement was made. To start the year, Microsoft sends a nice gift to developers.
What is Github?
GitHub is an online service where developers can store, compare, enhance and share their coding efforts. Several plans are available depending on team size and/or privacy settings. For those who wish to save a few bucks, there is a free plan. The major caveat is that all code stored with a free plan is public. So much for working on a secret new app.
To start off the year on good terms, Microsoft has made a significant change to the GitHub plans. Free plan now allows developers to store their code in private repositories. At no extra cost. And unlimited. Microsoft is also combining two former products GitHub Business Cloud and GitHub Enterprise. They now become GitHub Enterprise.
Despite the loss of revenue to be expected from this change of heart, Microsoft has a lot to gain.
To begin with, the GitHub revenue loss won’t add up to much in comparison to Microsoft’s war treasure.
GitHub is now closely linked to Microsoft in the user’s mind and it is not such a good thing. Microsoft is often portrayed as the evil open-source slayer. Some devs deserted the platform when learning of the acquisition.
If consumers readily adopt Microsoft solutions, the professional community of developers is far more suspicious. Following the uproar of the acquisition, the time was right to make a gesture and please a worried community.
Microsoft is on a love crusade to regain developers’ trust. There is indeed a lot of work to do as Microsoft’s history is full of rather unpleasant episodes. Such as calling Linux “a cancer” and attacking its patents. But the developer community is vast and the Redmond firm has a lot to gain by keeping an eye out on new talents and how they work.
And a regained burst of dev love is well worth adding privacy to the free plan.