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IBM and Microsoft open up to open source in 2018

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With IBM's purchase of Linux market leader Red Hat and Microsoft buying GitHub, 2018 could prove to be a watershed year for the open source community.

Mergers and acquisitions in the high tech industry continued at a robust pace in 2018, with some of the industry's top tier vendors scooping up what could prove to be strategically important companies in the future. One notable trend within that trend was the growing interest on the part of proprietary vendors to gobble up influential open source developers.

Arguably the deal that grabbed the most attention was IBM's $34 billion purchase of Red Hat, Inc., the second-largest acquisition in the history of the high tech industry, second only to the $67 billion Dell-EMC deal a few years ago. Red Hat for years has held the lion's share of the Linux operating system market. Another deal that captured as many headlines was Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub, a distributed version control platform that is the largest repository of open source projects, and home to 28 million open source developers.

The motivation for IBM and Microsoft behind between making such huge investments in the open source world differs greatly. For IBM, some believe the company is trying to better position itself to go after long-term deals in both the commercial sector as well as large federal government agencies such as the proposed $10 billion JEDI contract. The alliance with Red Hat should also greatly help IBM's efforts in developing web-based applications and services which could stimulate sales of its proprietary hardware and software offerings.

Microsoft's $7.5 billion purchase of GitHub is just another step – albeit a giant step – along its four-year journey under CEO Satya Nadella to embrace Linux as part of all of its core technology initiatives. But for the combined company to succeed, Microsoft must convince corporate open source DevOps teams to aggressively adopt Microsoft's proprietary platforms, most notably Azure.

In this podcast Ed Scannell, senior executive editor with TechTarget, Jack Vaughan, senior news writer with TechTarget, and Mike Machett, analyst and founder of the Small World Big Data consultancy, discuss the impact of the deals on IT administrators and product development groups heading into 2019.

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