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European Commission approves Microsoft’s $7.5bn GitHub buyout

The European Commission has given Microsoft unconditional approval to acquire GitHub. The EU said the deal, worth $7.5bn (£5.7bn), did not raise competition concerns “because the emerged entity would continue to face significant competition from other players on both markets”.

Shortly after the deal was announced in June, GitHub’s incoming CEO, Nat Friedman, said “the biggest upside for Microsoft is to earn the trust of a new generation of developers who have mostly not grown up on Microsoft technologies”. The EU concluded that the US tech giant “would have no incentive to undermine the open nature of GitHub’s platform”.

The proposed acquisition prompted alarm in some quarters of the industry, as developers questioned Microsoft’s commitment to open-source software. But Jim Zemlin, the director of the Linux Foundation, dismissed fears that the US tech giant was engaged in a “sinister plot” to acquire the 70 million open source projects Github hosts.

“Most of the important projects on GitHub are licensed under an open source license, which addresses intellectual property ownership,” Zemlin said. “The trademark and other IP assets are often owned by a non-profit like The Linux Foundation.” He added: “Microsoft has the means and the expertise to make GitHub better.”