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How Apple and Microsoft Are Targeting Developers

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It’s a very good week to be a software developer

First Apple showers loads of attention on your tribe with the Worldwide Developers Conference, an event meant to educate and otherwise inculcate software coders in Apple’s ways.

Then Microsoft shells out $7.5 billion to buy GitHub, a company whose technology facilitates collaboration among software developers. This acquisition is noteworthy in three ways:

  1. GitHub is an “open-source” tool, a kind of religion among a certain type of developers who believe in sharing. Microsoft famously didn’t believe in open-source. That was before it was in the business of managing programs in the cloud, which lends itself to open-source development. Now Microsoft sees the value of having a relationship with coders who have to store their work somewhere. It might as well be with Microsoft.
  2. GitHub made very little money. That’s no concern for Microsoft, which makes plenty of its own. GitHub’s 28 million users are a golden opportunity for Microsoft’s cloud business, profitability be damned.
  3. Crazy bets sometimes pay off. Years ago Andreessen Horowitz invested a shocking $100 million in GitHub, which we’ve already established wasn’t exactly gushing profits. That stake has returned a cool billion dollars. This is why the worlds pays attention to VCs.


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