Four years after being acquired by Microsoft, GitHub keeps doing its thing • TechCrunch
It’s been four years since today since Microsoft Acquisition closed From GitHub, which was mostly an icon repository. Today’s GitHub looks very different, having now added CI/CD tools with GitHub Actions and Codespaces as an online editor and computing platform, as well as various security tools and more. But according to GitHub CEO Thomas Dohmke, from took over From Nat Friedman a year ago, Microsoft allowed GitHub to do what it does best.
“We’ve maintained GitHub and GitHub is still this independent entity within Microsoft along the lines of LinkedIn,” he told me. “I think we’ve done a great job with doing that and keeping GitHub in its original form. You don’t see more Microsoft on GitHub.com than you saw four years ago and that has helped us continue to grow and we’re very excited about where this is going.”
He noted that GitHub has continued to receive the same support from Microsoft’s leadership team, including CEO Satya Nadella, over the years. “Microsoft has not forgotten why we did the deal in the first place and what the important pillars of the deal are. The first and most important principle is to put developers first. And that’s what we do every day,” Domky said.
But he also acknowledged that Microsoft is a big company and that people sometimes have their own ideas about what the Microsoft/GitHub relationship should look like. So far, it appears that leadership on both sides has been able to keep these ideas at bay.
Dohmke noted that GitHub has clearly benefited from Microsoft’s sales prowess, which has helped it acquire a number of large accounts. This certainly helped the company to reach the $1 billion annual recurring revenue it announced yesterday. Dohmke said he believes GitHub will likely have reached that milestone as a standalone company as well.
“I’m generally an optimist,” he said. “So any company can get there if they stay focused on their mission. The biggest challenge for companies once they reach a certain size is focus.”
It is clear that today’s GitHub is in a different position than GitHub four years ago. Its product portfolio has expanded, for example, a bit with projects like CodeSpaces and, more recently, Copilot. “I think I would have fulfilled my mission as CEO if we created happy developers — happy developers who enjoy doing their work and see security, compliance, and accessibility as a burden but as part of what makes them happy and what makes them to perform in their lives.” It is clear that such projects are part of that.
“I think what we’re doing here is we’re disrupting ourselves with artificial intelligence, with pilots and with Codespaces,” he added. “These are all new investments that break away from traditional GitHub – the old school GitHub with buybacks, issues, and wikis – and continue to push the boundaries of what we think is possible.”
But he also emphasized that it’s not just about big announcements and flashy events, but also focusing on small fixes and features that could be as important to keep developers as happy as new products. “I think this is our greatest strength: that we can balance the small parts, the big gains, and the big disruptions in our business.”