The European Commission (EC) has given its unconditional blessing to Microsoft’s $7.5 acquisition of code repository GitHub, saying any efforts by the company to undermine its open nature would result in the flight of developers to rival repositories.
The company had announced the deal – financed by its $30 billion share repurchase programme – in June, saying it would “bring Microsoft’s developer tools and services to new audiences”. The approval comes surprisingly rapidly for the EC.
Following the acquisition “effective competition in the relevant markets would continue and Microsoft would have no incentive to undermine the open nature of GitHub’s platform,” the Commission concluded.
Microsoft GitHub Deal: “No Competition Concerns”
The EC said: “Microsoft and GitHub both supply tools that organisations and individuals use when developing and releasing software.”
“In particular, (i) both companies provide access to platforms… allowing developers to collaborate on source code and (ii) both provide code editors and integrated development environments.”
The EC concluded: “The Commission found that the combination of Microsoft and GitHub’s activities on these markets would raise no competition concerns because the merged entity would continue to face significant competition from other players on both markets.”
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The Commission also assessed whether there would be a risk of weakened competition, if Microsoft were to use GitHub’s software development platform to boost its own sales of DevOps tools and cloud services.
“In particular, the Commission looked at whether Microsoft would have the ability and incentive to further integrate its own DevOps tools and cloud services with GitHub while limiting integration with third parties’ DevOps tools and cloud services.”
The market investigation confirmed that Microsoft would not have the market power to undermine the open nature of GitHub to the detriment of competing DevOps tools and cloud services: “This is because such behaviour would reduce the value of GitHub for developers, who are willing and able to switch to other platforms.”