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GitHub co-founder Chris Wanstrath, new GitHub CEO Nat Friedman, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Microsoft CFO Amy Hood. (Microsoft Photo)

Microsoft just completed its $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub, officially taking ownership of what it describes as the world’s largest developer community.

Now comes the hard part: continuing to improve and expand GitHub, while winning over software developers who have been skeptical about Microsoft (or any one tech giant) buying a company whose technology is used for such a wide variety of software development scenarios, including open-source projects and platforms that compete with Microsoft’s technologies.

Based on new numbers included in today’s announcement from incoming GitHub CEO Nat Friedman, the San Francisco-based company has grown to more than 31 million software developers, up from 28 million when the deal was announced in June. That’s notable in part because some longtime GitHub users had vowed to leave with Microsoft in control. The growth suggests that any departures were more than overcome by the volume of newcomers, many of whom were no doubt drawn to GitHub by the buzz generated with the Microsoft acquisition.

In a post announcing the news, new GitHub CEO Nat Friedman lays out three main objectives that he says will be top of mind with the acquisition now closed.

  • Ensuring GitHub is the best place to run productive communities and teams
  • Making GitHub accessible to more developers around the world
  • Reliability, security, and performance

In addition, he says GitHub will “double down” on its previously announced project “Paper Cuts,” aiming to “improve core scenarios like search, notifications, issues/projects, and our mobile experience.”

His post is topped by an instant-classic headline: “Pull request successfully merged. Starting build…”

Friedman is the former CEO of Xamarin, the mobile app development platform acquired by Microsoft in 2016. Chris Wanstrath, the GitHub co-founder and former CEO, is expected to join Microsoft as a technical fellow.

In a blog post at the time of the announcement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella identified three “clear opportunities” in the combination of the companies: In addition to keeping GitHub a central part of the software developer community, he said the deal “will accelerate enterprise developers’ use of GitHub, with our direct sales and partner channels and access to Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure and services” and will help “bring Microsoft’s developer tools and services to new audiences.”

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