Microsoft to Acquire GitHub, Making Waves in Developer Community

Microsoft to Acquire GitHub, Making Waves in Developer Community

Microsoft announced on Monday that it was buying the software development platform GitHub for $7.5 billion worth of Microsoft stock in a deal expected to close later this year:

GitHub will retain its developer-first ethos and will operate independently to provide an open platform for all developers in all industries. Developers will continue to be able to use the programming languages, tools and operating systems of their choice for their projects — and will still be able to deploy their code to any operating system, any cloud and any device. Microsoft Corporate Vice President Nat Friedman, founder of Xamarin and an open source veteran, will assume the role of GitHub CEO. GitHub’s current CEO, Chris Wanstrath, will become a Microsoft technical fellow, reporting to Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie, to work on strategic software initiatives.

Ten-year-old GitHub, based in San Francisco, is widely used among software developers to share and collaborate on code. In earlier years, Bloomberg’s Dina Bass and Eric Newcomer note, Microsoft leaders were hostile toward open-source projects like those being shared on GitHub, with co-founder Bill Gates and former CEO Steve Ballmer encouraging developers to build proprietary software for their company. Current CEO Satya Nadella has taken a notably more positive line on open source, making GitHub a more natural addition to the way the software giant currently operates. In that context, Tom Warren writes at the Verge, “it’s easy to imagine why Microsoft would want to acquire GitHub”:

Microsoft killed its own GitHub competitor, Codeplex, in December and is now the top contributor to GitHub, Microsoft now has more than 1,000 employees actively pushing code to GitHub repositories. Its popularity among developers could see Microsoft earn some much-needed trust and respect from developers. In bigger enterprises and slower moving businesses, the fact Microsoft has acquired GitHub will make it more trusted to use for projects and source control, simply because Microsoft is already trusted across many software and services by these companies.

In a blog post discussing the acquisition, Nadella insists the move is all about empowering developers:

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Will Machine Learning Exacerbate Corporate Inequality?

Will Machine Learning Exacerbate Corporate Inequality?

Over the past year, we’ve looked at a few examples of a phenomenon that has been referred to as “corporate inequality”—referring to a significant and ostensibly widening gap between the profitability of high-performance firms with lots of cash on the one hand, and less productive, less wealthy companies on the other. This profitability gap naturally leads to another gap in the compensation, benefits, and perks these companies are able to afford for their employees, and according to one scholar’s theory, these differences are even a key contributor to income inequality and social stratification in the US today!

One area in which larger and wealthier organizations would seem to have a definite edge is in acquiring scarce and expensive talent in emerging technological fields like AI and machine learning, raising concerns that tech giants like Google and Tesla rushing to grab up all the AI talent they can will lead to brain drain at smaller firms and even at universities.

There’s another reason why these companies might have a head start in profiting from these new technologies, however. In a keynote address at last week’s Strata + Hadoop World conference in San Jose, California, Cloudera co-founder Mike Olson warned that because machine learning depends on access to enormous data sets, its main beneficiaries will be big companies that already own vast amounts of data and can already implement these technologies to scale, according to Matt Asay at TechRepublic:

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