EU Set To Approve Microsoft’s $7.5bn GitHub Buy Without Conditions

Microsoft is reportedly set to get a no-strings-attached green light for the surprise deal, which sees Redmond acquiring the internet’s top code hosting site

The European Union is set to approve Microsoft’s $7.5 billion (£5.7bn) purchase of coding website GitHub without conditions later this month, according to a report.

The European Commission said in September it would deliver a decision on 19 October. The EU’s executive arm has the power to approve or block the deal, or impose conditions on approval.

In 2016, it approved Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn, but imposed restrictions on the deal, with Microsoft agreeing, for instance, not to require PC makers to pre-install LinkedIn and not to lock LinkedIn competitors out of the Office productivity suite.

The EU has taken other major competitive actions against Microsoft, in 2009 forcing it to offer users a choice of browsers in response to Microsoft’s efforts to integrate the Internet Explorer browser with Windows.

The European Commission. Image credit: European Commission
Image credit: European Commission

Competition concerns

Microsoft’s ill-fated acquisition of Nokia in 2013, on the other hand, was approved without conditions.

That is also set to be the case for the GitHub deal, according to two unnamed sources cited by Reuters late on Monday.

The deal was announced in June and is set for completion by the end of this year. It is Microsoft’s biggest purchase since the $26bn LinkedIn deal in 2016.

GitHub, a cloud-based hosting site for distributed programming projects, is planned to become part of Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud unit, which competes with Amazon’s leading Amazon Web Services (AWS).

GitHub is the dominant hosting platform of its kind, with more than 28 million developers, and squeezed even Microsoft’s own code hosting effort, CodePlex, out of the market last year.

The deal was considered significant in part due to Microsoft’s heated rhetoric against the open source programming model in the past.  GitHub is largely oriented around open source, and uses the Git version control system that was originally designed for the development of the Linux kernel.

Microsoft has promised that under the company GitHub will remain an open platform that works with all public clouds, in an effort to assuage fears the change in ownership could lead to a preference for Microsoft’s own products or services.