Over the last 20 years, Microsoft has transformed from a closed-source software giant to a company that embraces open source and actively contributes to the development community. One of the most significant milestones in this journey was Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub, a popular platform for hosting and collaborating on open-source projects.
Microsoft Journey and GitHub Acquisition
In June 2018, Microsoft announced its acquisition of GitHub for a staggering $7.5 billion. This move surprised many in the tech industry, as Microsoft had long been associated with proprietary software and a closed approach to development. However, the acquisition signalled a shift in the company’s philosophy and a commitment to open source.
GitHub, with its vast community of developers and repositories, has become a crucial hub for open-source projects. By acquiring GitHub, Microsoft gained access to a wealth of open-source code and demonstrated its dedication to supporting the open-source community.
Microsoft’s Open Source Initiatives
One of the most notable examples is the .NET framework. Microsoft open-sourced the .NET Core, a cross-platform implementation of .NET, in 2014. This move allowed developers to build applications using .NET on Windows, macOS, and Linux, expanding its reach beyond the Windows ecosystem.
Another significant open-source project from Microsoft is Visual Studio Code, a lightweight and powerful code editor. Visual Studio Code has gained immense popularity among developers due to its extensive customisation options and support for many programming languages.
Furthermore, Microsoft has become an active contributor to various open-source projects, including the Linux kernel, the Node.js runtime, and the Kubernetes container orchestration platform. These contributions have benefited the open-source community and helped Microsoft improve its products and services.
A Cultural Shift
Microsoft’s transformation towards open source is not just limited to its products and projects. The company has undergone a cultural shift, embracing collaboration, transparency, and community-driven development.
Under the leadership of Satya Nadella, who became CEO in 2014, Microsoft has shifted its focus towards empowering developers and enabling them to build innovative solutions. This change in mindset has led to a more inclusive approach, where Microsoft actively seeks feedback from the developer community and incorporates it into its products and services.
Additionally, Microsoft has been investing in partnerships with open-source organisations and fostering a culture of openness. This cultural shift has improved Microsoft’s reputation among developers and positioned the company as a leader in the open-source movement.
The Benefits of Microsoft’s Open Source Approach
Microsoft’s embrace of open source has brought several benefits to the company and the broader development community. By open-sourcing its technologies and contributing to existing projects, Microsoft has gained the trust and support of developers who were once sceptical of the company’s intentions.
Open source allows for greater collaboration and innovation, as worldwide developers can contribute their expertise and ideas. By actively participating in the open-source community, Microsoft has tapped into this global talent pool, resulting in improved software quality and faster development cycles.
Furthermore, Microsoft’s open-source initiatives have helped bridge the gap between different platforms and ecosystems. By making its technologies cross-platform compatible, Microsoft has enabled developers to build applications that run seamlessly on various operating systems, breaking down barriers and fostering interoperability.
Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub and its commitment to open source signify a significant shift in the company’s approach to software development. Over the last 20 years, Microsoft has transformed from a closed-source software giant to a company that embraces openness, collaboration, and community-driven development.
Through its open-source initiatives and contributions, Microsoft has not only improved its products and services but has also become a trusted partner in the global development community. This evolution has positioned Microsoft as a leader in the open-source movement and has paved the way for a more inclusive and innovative future.