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  • Matthew Spencer - Tech Journalist

GitLab grew bigger than GitHub: Microsoft following the practice

Open-source collaboration platform for developers GitLab is now worth twice as much as GitHub. Microsoft paid big bucks to acquire GitHub back in 2018. Since then, the platform launched in 2008 has remained the ideal place for developers and companies to collaborate, update, and push codes. The platforms are applied with modern social media alike twist where developers and learners can collaborate, comment, recommend suggestions, merge code with one click “Pull Requests,” and so forth. So, a community began to grow rather than just an open-source space to host code.

GitHub’s biggest rival, born out of its shadow, GitLab, recently made its debut on NASDAQ on Thursday. The company is now worth $16.5 billion, making it double in value of what Microsoft paid to acquire its rival GitHub for $7.5 billion. Back then, the deal was considered very pricy because there weren’t regular acquisitions happening at this scale for a platform for developers.

Sid Sijbrandij, CEO of GitLab, said being an open-source platform means services are maintained by global participants who are experts in their craft and love the opportunity to show off skills. This is what boosts GitLab’s expenditure along with its open-source persona, meaning even paid services taken by large companies are ten times cheaper than Microsoft’s GitHub. Though 270 employees maintain GitHub (report made in 2019), the open-source platform GitLab has over 800 open-source developers and ten paid employees to monitor programs and keep the steam running from inside.

Followed by Google Ventures, GitLab announced a $20 million fundraising round. The annual developer conference of GitHub was about to receive over 1000 developers from around the world. Previously it was hosted by CEO Chris Wanstrath, Miju Han- data engineering manager, and platform engineering manager Kyle Daigle.

Linux Torvalds, the creator of Linux, had Git, on top of which both platforms were born. Open-source platforms are ways for developers, students, professionals, companies and hobbyists to come together in one playground. Bounded by rules, they create software or updates for simple goals, affordable and secure software for everyone. Anyone with the right toolset and coding skill can make software of their own by tweaking however they like, and, in a world where everything is paid, this kind of service is required to show the power of open source and affordable software.

GitLab grew up in GitHub’s shadow and currently is so dominant that it is showing GitHub or Microsoft how to conduct business in the open-source platform. Four years after launch, GitHub raised $100 million from Andreessen Horowitz, which was quite fascinating.

A company with no real estate and permanent employees has a handbook containing over 2000 pages. The book details how the company operates and manages finance, engineering procedures, compensation, and remote work methods.

Dave Munichiello, a partner at GV, said to CNBC, “We would all be sitting around his kitchen table, and he had a cat that would be in his bedroom meowing to come to hang out.”

Back in 2018, when Microsoft priced GitHub at $7.5 billion, roughly 25 times the revenue it generates seemed like a pretty huge deal and in fact, it was. At that period, that price was insane, but GitLab was growing at a more incredible pace under GitHub’s shadow. Redpoint venture managing director Tomasz Tunguz said, “The market loves fast growth”, and we agree because it shows potential. Along with that, Tunguz said GitHub was getting swallowed as GitLab is showing the DevOps world work ethic.

In a post where GitLab congratulated Microsoft for acquiring GitHub, it said, “The long-term strategic implication seems to be that Microsoft wants to use GitHub as a means to drive Azure adoption.”


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