GitHub to give users of its free plan access to unlimited private repositories

Microsoft is poised to make GitHub's private repositories free to smaller developers and teams, which would help Microsoft go head-to-head with GitLab and BitBucket.

Microsoft bought GitHub: Here's what the acquisition means for business TechRepublic's Jason Hiner explains why Microsoft, a company that once spurned open source, bought GitHub, the world's largest open source repository, for $7.5 billion.

This story originally appeared on ZDNet.

Microsoft is poised to make GitHub's private repositories free to smaller developers and teams, which would help Microsoft go head-to-head with GitLab and BitBucket.

This announcement comes courtesy of TheNextWeb.com, which admits it broke Microsoft's embargo on the news a day early. Microsoft will formally announce this change in strategy on January 8, according to that site, which seemingly is when the new capability also will go live. (I asked Microsoft to confirm the news, but no word back so far.)

Update (January 7, 1:37 p.m. ET): Microsoft just officially announced the news. GitHub Free now includes unlimited private repositories with up to three collaborators per repository. Microsoft to date has maintained GitHub's previous strategy of limiting the ability to create private repositories that aren't visible to the public and are privately shared to paying customers. TheNextWeb says Microsoft plans to limit private repositories on free accounts to three collaborators a piece, so this will be more for small developers and teams. GitHub's $7 per user per month for developers and $9 per user per month Team plans both include support for unlimited private repositories. Developers who don't need unlimited private repositories can sign up for one of the company's free plans.

Microsoft bought GitHub for $7.5 billion last year.

In June, during a Reddit AMA, GitHub's new chief Nat Friedman was asked if Microsoft ever planned to make private repositories free. Friedman said at that time: "It's too soon for me to know the answer to that. We want GitHub to be accessible to everyone in the world, and for everyone to have an opportunity to be a developer."

Update: It looks like Microsoft also plans to tinker with the higher-end paid GitHub plans, as well. Courtesy of GeekWire, which is also under embargo (I assume): "GitHub also plans to combine its Business Cloud and Enterprise pricing tiers into a single tier called GitHub Enterprise that's intended for larger companies that want to host GitHub on their own infrastructure or use it as a cloud service."

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