A "bright" future for GitHub indeed
The name of this post is inspired by the latest official post on the GitHub blog.
So Microsoft is acquiring GitHub. While certain people like GitHub CEO defunkt are beaming with enthusiasm reserved only for those, who secured themselves a hefty sum and a nice position on the lap of their new overlord, I can't help myself but feel skeptical. Don't get me wrong, I wish for nothing else but the bright future that has been promised - but is that future really possible with the track record Microsoft has had up until now?
While Microsoft and GitHub are both busy reassuring us how this partnership was struck in heaven itself, I look back at how Microsoft acquisitions have impacted me in the past. Let's just say: most times they weren't pleasant experiences...
When Nokia annouced that they were teaming up with Intel to bring us a new mobile OS with native applications and Qt 4 as the default graphical library, I was overhelmed with joy. After my initial reservations, when I witnessed the weird squabble and sudden shift from Maemo to MeeGo, I finally gave in and bought the new flagship phone Nokia N9. The operating system and all the apps were astonishingly fast compared both to my previous semi-smart phone and to any Android device I've touched ever since. However within two weeks from my purchase it was annouced that Stephen Elop would be the new CEO of Nokia. I knew right away that the glorious era of MeeGo and native phone applications would never come. Within the next half of a year my shiny new phone became an obsolete brick with zero official support or updates and with no functional app store.
How hard can it be to screw up something that is working perfectly fine and generates a steady stream of revenue? It appears that in the hands of Microsoft nothing is impossible. A fast peer-to-peer encrypted chat and voice call application was transformed into incomprehensible mess that sports two variants which can't even properly interact together. I'm talking, of course, about the split to Skype and Skype for Business. From the rising new platform to an obsolete piece of software that works only randomly (the only version that seems to semi-successfully work is the installation on my android tablet).
While both of these events arguably occured before Satya Nadella became the new CEO of Microsoft, the direction in which Skype is evolving simply hasn't changed. Furthermore the introduction of projects such as Ubuntu on Windows and announcing SQL Server for Linux inspire only more skepticism on my side - for let's never forget the fabled triple E strategy (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) Microsoft has used so many times in the past. To add one final drop to my bowl of mistrust, let's look at OneDrive.
When OneDrive was launched, it was clearly designed to pick a fight with Google Drive over their customers. In the free plan it offered thrice the size and that was quite enticing for me. Of course, when I was busy moving my files to the new cloud drive, it suddenly got shrinked back to the 5 GB limit.
What's next for GitHub
Just like with Nokia and OneDrive I've moved to GitHub shortly before the major change was announced. This time, however, I'm not waiting around to see what the damage will be. I sincerely hope this platform will stay the same unadultered cloud storage it has been so far, but I wouldn't bet on it. For all I know we can expect announcement of GitHub for Business, integration into Office 365 and login replacement with Microsoft account within few months.