How does Particle feel about the GitHub acquisition?

I was wondering how Microsoft acquiring GitHub might impact Particle.

I just read this on our Slack Feed as well…
time to move Source Control.

GitLab anyone?

I’m thinking about that if the situation gets bad enough.

I use GitHub to host a lot of my projects like websites and po-util. My projects are well integrated with Travis CI and Netlify. It would be a hassle to move everthing.

There are many ways Microsoft could ruin GitHub and not a lot of ways they could make it better.

What does Microsoft gain by buying Github? How do they plan on making their money back?

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Putting ads on GitHub, selling user data, making it a more of a subscription service?

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I can see how that that would turn off most of the current user base.

The reason for buying Github is that they shifted all their development to use that platform. So they would want to make sure it is molded to their requirements I would assume.

Visual Studio already has excellent GitHub integration, and if you’re a VS developer this could be cause for celebrating. The Microsoft/Windows pattern is to control and monetize services which has been an underlying motive since Win10.

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I think it all depends on how Microsoft treats GitHub; specifically, whether they leave it as a stand-alone company/business unit or they merge it into Microsoft.

Microsoft has announced that their plan is to keep GitHub separate. If that’s the case, I don’t think it’ll change a lot, except they put Nat Friedman (Xamarin) in as CEO, and apparently he’s awesome. It’s entirely possible that GitHub gets better faster with new leadership.

If Microsoft decides to, at some point, make GitHub and Microsoft merge into one company, then I think things will get messy. Microsoft and GitHub have very different cultures; I don’t know either well enough to apply judgment and say which is better or worse, but I know they’re different. That culture clash could be very painful.

That said, I think Satya is smart enough to know that, and GitHub is big enough that it can stand on its own. Plus there have been a number of examples recently of big acquisitions where the acquired company is kept separate and is very successful (see Instagram, post-Facebook acquisition).

I expect the reason that Microsoft bought GitHub is similar to the reason they bought LinkedIn: if your core business is selling software to businesses, owning companies that manage huge communities of “businesspeople” is valuable. GitHub users might not be seen as businesspeople traditionally, but considering that these days most professional engineering work is done on GitHub, and most of those professional engineers work at businesses, it’s fair to classify them as such. These days you don’t have to wear a suit and tie to be a businessperson :wink:

As for the effect it’ll have on us: probably none. We’ll keep hosting our open source software and hardware on GitHub so long as that’s where the community of software developers lives. If the community moves, so will we. But I think that’s unlikely; Microsoft these days is a huge proponent of open source software. They’ve promised to keep GitHub great, and its our duty, as customers and users, to hold them accountable to that promise. Assuming they do, we’re happy to keep using their service.


Monetizing services has been on MS’s agenda since just before Gates* stepped down! (They’ve just been really bad at it)

*There’s a public quote from him about this but I can’t find it.

I believe his quote was something like “Microsoft isn’t in the software business, we’re in the upgrade business”. This was in the early 2000s I believe.

What I think many are missing is the amount of data microsoft now has access to. And what I mean by that, is now microsoft has a very large code base to see what features people are implementing, how code is being used and orginized, and is a good way of determining path for future feature development in .net core/framework.

It’s a very smart idea, and at an analytic level, a wealth of knowledge!


For the short to medium term, nothing will happen other than better integrations with other Microsoft tooling. There’s three points I’d make…

The first is that Microsoft is not the company it once was. To reference pull quotes from the late Gates or early Balmer era is misguided. As someone who’s been deep in Microsoft tech for about 15 years, and with several Microsoft Partner consulting shops for 8 years, I will tell you that things are radically different than they were 5 years ago, let alone the 2000s. Microsoft is no longer the “buy a company to screw it up” company that it was when it bought Skype, and other companies “back in the day”, nor are they the closed ecosystem that they used to be. Look at how many Microsoft projects are open source and hosted on GitHub.

The second is that Microsoft seems more committed than ever to developer tooling and a positive developer experience, and internally they’ve also started practicing what they’re preaching in that respect. We’ve gone from what would have historically been annual or semi-annual software releases, to monthly or bi-monthly. The rate of iteration and pace of innovation has largely been fueled by Microsoft’s adoption of technology like Git, and the creation of better tooling for all developers around that technology.

The last point is that analysts, and even GitHub themselves were quick to point out last year, that the company had to find a way to conquer the enterprise business to make the company viable. At that time, GitHub could not grow and stand on its own. They were shopping for operating capital last year and I suspect that was when the MS talks started, potentially as just a strategic investment at that time. Essentially, everyone who is worried about Microsoft “killing” or “screwing up” GitHub should have also been concerned about the company’s long term viability on it’s own. Microsoft needs to make a lot less raw revenue off of GitHub in order to get a return on their investment purely thanks to the adoption of that tech internally, and ability to push better/tighter integration and relationships between GitHub and other Microsoft tooling.

I expect the “free” service to remain as it is today, but with perhaps tiers added to better support and target enterprise and corporate customers. I would love to see better integration with, or deployment mechanisms built into GitHub to push code to various Azure services… something along the lines of SquareSpace’s implementation, but for Azure Functions and other Azure services. That’d be really slick, and more than achievable. Plus, who knows what other IP and R&D goodies Microsoft also got as part of the acquisition.


Your word in God’s ear!

Recent Win10 updates didn’t fare too well and semi-broke well established features which caused 3rd party developers (and their clients/users) some grief (e.g. active pen support to mimik behaviour of a finger touch or a passive stylus - still no solution) - and that was on their flag ship product :see_no_evil: