Skip to Content

Microsoft’s $7.5 Billion GitHub Acquisition Is One of Its Biggest Bets Yet

It’s a big one.

Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of open-sourced software platform Github is now one of the giant’s largest purchases ever — just behind its $28.1 billion buyout of LinkedIn and its less applauded $8.5 billion deal for Skype.

That’s based on a list from financial analytics firm Dealogic, excluding deals in which Microsoft purchased a portion of a company as part of a consortium.

At $7.5 billion, the purchase of GitHub has turned it into one of Microsoft’s biggest bets, larger than its $5.9 billion acquisition of aQuantive in 2007, and $7.2 billion purchase of Nokia six years later based on enterprise value.

Looking back on Microsoft’s acquisition history may also shed light as to why some developers are anxious over the purchase of GitHub.

Microsoft has in the past made big acquisitions that have ended in failure. In a bid to develop a smartphone strategy at a time when Apple and Android products were galloping to the fore, Microsoft acquired the Nokia phone business in 2013 for an estimated $7.4 billion — though, that figure latter grew to $9.2 billion. About two years later, the firm wrote off the deal and cut some 7,800 jobs, mostly in that segment. Similarly, Microsoft would write off its purchase of online ad firm aQuantive about five years after buying it.

Still, those acquisitions were notable, under the helm of previous CEO Steve Ballmer, who stepped down in early 2014.

Now, investors are still waiting to see how and if current CEO Satya Nadella’s big bet will pay off. The largest of the lot: the $28.1 billion purchase of LinkedIn in late 2016, which has recently delivered encouraging signs. For the three months ending in March, revenue from Linkedin grew 37% to $1.3 billion compared to a year earlier. Though, with just over a year’s worth of tutelage under Microsoft, it might be too early to finalize the report card.