Another Multi-Billion Dollar Purchase by Microsoft
This past week has been good for Microsoft. With the latest reports highlighting the company’s value at $753 Billion which makes it one of the most valuable companies in the world (it’s been at the top for almost my entire life) and it’s purchase of one of the most popular online platforms for developers, the company is expanding it’s reach to areas it once stood adamantly against.
The Open Source Community
Microsoft at one point in time was not in the business of supporting Open Source Projects. That has all changed over the past few years with Microsoft now embracing Linux and recognizing the strengths Linux has in security. Microsoft has even gone as far as creating their own Linux Kernel that they use in their Internet of Things aka IoT products, again, because of the inherent security that comes with Linux.
Now Microsoft has made a hefty investment in GitHub to the tune of $7.5 Billion dollars. This gives Microsoft direct access to one of the largest online developer centric code repositories that has over 85 million repositories by over 28 million developers.
Some Developers Aren’t Happy with Microsoft Buying GitHub
Since the rumors started floating around, developers have expressed their concerns and some even chose to migrate to GitHub alternatives like GitLab and BitBucket. But why the outrage? Some developers are not fans of Microsoft or their products and have made it their sole goal in life to not use any Microsoft Products. A large portion of the developer community on GitHub uses either Linux Distros or MacOS and not Windows.
So the acquisition of GitHub by Microsoft was seen as a serious issue by many developers who have used the platform for years.
Microsoft’s Competition is on GitHub
One thing that has to be noted is that a lot of large companies who compete with Microsoft in one way or another, maintains repositories on GitHub.
Those are just a few of the companies who compete with Microsoft that maintain a repository on GitHub.
Aren’t GitHub Repositories Public Anyway?
Most people use GitHub to share code with the world and have all their repositories public. Some people pay to keep their repositories private. So while the purchase of GitHub by Microsoft might have a symbolic meaning for some, for others, it means their private repositories theoretically can be viewed by the company who owns the servers, and in this case, that’s Microsoft.
Microsoft Has Spent Billions over the Years
If you look back over the past few years, you will find that they made some big dollar purchases.
- $26.2 Billion for LinkedIn
- $8.5 Billion for Skype
- $41.8 Billion for Spotify
- $2.5 Billion for Minecraft
- $7.2 Billion for Nokia
That is a serious shopping spree. So what’s next?
Will Microsoft Buy WordPress?
At first thought, this sounds like a ridiculous idea. I mean, WordPress is a completely open source piece of software with it’s roots in blogging and is focused on being a digital publishers go to solution. The team at WordPress has a laser like focus on making it financially possible for anyone who wants to share their thoughts and ideas with the world, to create a blog that rivals million dollar companies.
But when you start thinking about it further, it would kind of make sense. WordPress is the most popular Content Management System aka CMS in the entire world. WordPress powers over 30% of the modern web. And most importantly, WordPress is free which means all a person needs in order to get started, is $10 for a domain name and around $5 a month for hosting. Free combined with popularity means continued wide spread adoption.
This makes WordPress extremely attractive to companies who might want direct access to millions of website owners who have demonstrated a willingness to spend just a few dollars a month. A few dollars a month multiplied by millions, combined with the potential to cross-sell affinity products, means the potential to earn serious money for the company who owns it.
So How Would This Happen?
As mentioned above, WordPress is an open source CMS. But the company behind it, Automattic, is a privately help company that’s valued at $1.16 Billion.
The company is owned by one of the co-founders of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg. While Matt has demonstrated his commitment to the community he’s help to build and has made it his mission to Democratize Digital Publishing, a private company can always be purchased. Even if he chooses not to sell, at some point in time, someone else might take over. No one lives forever.
With that being said, Matt and Co. took steps to ensure that WordPress would always be true to it’s core and beliefs. They codified this mentality by creating a 501-c3 Non-Profit organization named WordPress Foundation.
This step ensures that the WordPress that we know and love, will remain an Open Source Platform and driven by the belief that publishing should be possible by all who choose to do so.
Of course non-profits can be dismantled, companies sold and beliefs may change. But for the foreseeable future, WordPress will continue to operate the way we have come accustomed to and lead by a team dedicated it’s mission.
So while Microsoft may be on a spending spree with their multi-billion dollar war chest, WordPress is not going to be part of their portfolio.