The purpose of this paper is to serve as a continuation of our previous study on the intellectual property of GitHub, the largest web-based code sharing platform in the world. Since the writing of the previous paper, GitHub has officially been purchased by Microsoft for $7.5 billion and this paper will seek to understand the business model that made GitHub attractive enough of a venture for such a sale to happen.
As a quick introduction, let us discuss who GitHub is. Table 1 below gives us some of the latest statistics concerning GitHub. GitHub was founded in 2007 by three partners – Chris Wanstrath, Tom Preston-Werner, and P. J. Hyett. It was written in Ruby and was the first code sharing plat- form to provide distributed version control (using Git), as opposed to a centralized version control system being offered by major competitors at the time SourceForge, GoogleCode, and CodePlex. This meant that developers could clone an entire instance of a project and merge modifications much easier than ever before. GitHub’s popularity grew exponentially fast as evidenced by Figure 1. In addition to using Git, GitHub is also popular today for a number of other services it provides that are discussed in the following section.
This paper seeks to study in detail the business model of GitHub. The paper will utilize Osterwalder’s business model canvas as a guide. We will start by reviewing the value proposition of GitHub, that is, what exactly GitHub has to offer in terms of services. We will then study the infrastructure that GitHub has built to provide the services it does. Next we will discuss some other options available for code sharing and how GitHub’s services differ from its competitors. We will look at how GitHub has segmented the market to whom it offers its service and the various propositions it offers for each segmentation, before concluding with a short discussion on GitHub’s finances.
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Author: Fred Michael GONSALVES, Jie SONG