Microsoft: 'So, we can buy GitHub?' EU: 'We'll tell you on 19 October'

Regulators set (provisional) date for ruling on buyout

EU flag photo via Shutterstock

Microsoft will find out on 19 October if EU regulators wave through its $7.5bn acquisition of GitHub, according to a filing published today.

The filing, which was originally made on 14 September, makes a request for approval. EU competition regulators have until a provisional deadline of 19 October to either give the buyout the green light or kick off a more detailed investigation, which could result in some unpleasant conditions being placed on the Windows giant.

Microsoft is no stranger to European regulators. As recently as 2016, the EU weighed in on Redmond's slurp of the home of marvellously creative CVs, LinkedIn. In that instance, Microsoft calmed jittery Eurocrats by promising not to force PC makers to pre-install LinkedIn, not to lock competitors out of its Office suite and allow access to Microsoft Graph.

CIRCA MAY 2014 -the logo of the brand "GitHub".

Microsoft commits: We're buying GitHub for $7.5 beeeeeeellion

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Redmond is, of course, still smarting from the decision back in 2009 to force it to offer a browser choice after its alleged efforts to integrate its Windows operating system with Internet Explorer. The Edge-begging screen that briefly put in an appearance in a preview build Windows 10 will raise similar questions. The firm's rapid backtracking will have kept the lawyers at bay. For now.

Microsoft announced its plans to acquire GitHub back in June, flinging $7.5bn at the company with the deal due to close by the end of the calendar year. While undeniably a big player, GitHub is not the only source repository in town. It claims more than 28 million users and 85 million repositories on its platform, and is used by more than half of the Fortune 50 companies. However, alternatives such as GitLab do exist (and made hay from the fallout).

The last time Microsoft managed to get a filing past the EU regulators without attracting conditions was its ill-fated acquisition of Nokia. It's almost as if they knew that Android and Apple would be untroubled by the upstart platform.

This time around, conditions could require Microsoft not to force GitHub on its customers or prevent competitors from integrating into the Visual Studio platform. We will find out by 19 October if the EU is satisfied with Microsoft's protestations of "Dude, we've changed, yeah?" ®




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