Google laments missing out on buying GitHub

The Googleplex Google HQ by Trey Ratcliff on Flickr

Earlier this month Microsoft bought GitHub for a mighty $7.5 billion. Just ahead of the acquisition, rumours were floating around that Google was the one interested in snapping up GitHub, even though an offer never materialised.

Now though, it appears that Google was indeed eyeing up GitHub and one company executive is slightly miffed that the search giant missed out. As reported by Bloomberg, speaking at a Fortune Magazine event, Google's head of cloud Diane Greene admitted that "I wouldn't have minded buying them, but it's okay".

While not the salacious grovelling details you'd probably have liked to hear from a Google executive over missing out on the deal, any acknowledgement of it is interesting enough. Greene also expressed concerns about Microsoft taking control of GitHub, echoing those of many in the development community. "I really hope Microsoft can keep them totally neutral", she said, though Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has stressed his commitment to "developer freedom, openness and innovation".

Developers reacted to the news that Microsoft was to own the site by pronouncing the site's death, with many upping sticks for rivals like GitLab and BitBucket.

But many also stayed, and under Nadella Microsoft has embraced open source software like longtime operating system rival Linux and the CEO has vowed that GitHub will"retain its developer-first ethos".

It's not the first time Google and Microsoft have reportedly been interested in the same target. Before Microsoft bought LinkedIn back in 2016, four suitors were involved in a furious bidding war for the social network platform. One of those was Microsoft, but another was Google, according to Re/code, which named another as Facebook.

Picture: The Googleplex/Credit: Trey Ratcliff on Flickr

Freelance writer

Vaughn Highfield is a seasoned freelance writer with more than 10 years experience in content strategy and technology journalism.  

Vaughn is a self-described ‘wordsmith and UX wizard’, covering topics spanning cyber security, cryptocurrency, financial technology, and skills development. 

From 2015 to 2018, he served as a senior staff writer at Alphr before assuming the role of associate editor. In his role as associate editor, Vaughn was responsible for a range of duties, including the publication’s long-term content strategy, events coverage, editorial commissions, and curation of the Alphr newsletter. 

Prior to this, Vaughn held in-house roles at PCPro and Terrapinn Digital in addition to freelance marketing and content strategy activities with The Gamers Hub and Magdala Media.