Microsoft closes its $7.5B purchase of code-sharing platform GitHub

After getting EU approval a week ago, today Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub, the Git-based code sharing and collaboration service with 31 million developers, has officially closed. The Redmond, WA-based software behemoth first said it would acquire GitHub for $7.5 billion in stock in June of this year, and after the acquisition closed it would continue to run it as an independent platform and business.
The acquisition is yet another sign of how Microsoft has been doubling down on courting developers and presenting itself as a neutral partner to help them with their projects.
That is because, despite its own very profitable proprietary software business, Microsoft also has a number of other businesses — for example, Azure, which competes with AWS and Google Cloud — that rely heavily on it being unbiased towards one platform or another. And GitHub, Microsoft hopes, will be another signal to the community of that position.
In that regard, it will be


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Vishal Makhijani steps down as chief executive of Udacity

Vishal Makhijani, the longtime chief executive of online education company Udacity, is stepping down as its chief executive officer, TechCrunch has learned.
Makhijani first joined the company in 2013 as chief operating officer under Sebastian Thrun, the company’s founder and chief executive at the time.
In 2016, Thrun, the original architect of Alphabet’s self-driving car initiatives and a storied entrepreneur and engineer in Silicon Valley, handed the reins of his online education startup to Makhijani, who assumed the mantle of CEO while Thrun became chairman and president of the company.

In an interview, Makhijani declined to disclose his next steps, but Thrun praised the executive for taking Udacity to new heights and hailed him as a key contributor to the company’s continuing growth.
As Thrun wrote in a blog post praising Makhijani for his tireless efforts:
Over the last five years, Vish worked with hundreds of tech companies to build curriculum focused on opening up


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Quizlet hits 50M monthly users

Most students in the U.S. have used or at least heard of Quizlet, the website for creating digital flashcards.
The company leverages machine learning to predict in which areas its users need the most help and provides 300 million user-generated study decks, maps, charts and other tools for learning.
Roughly eight months after closing a $20 million financing, Quizlet chief executive officer Matthew Glotzbach has disclosed some notable feats for the emerging edtech: it’s reached 50 million monthly active users, up from 30 million one year ago, and though it’s not profitable yet, its revenue is growing 100 percent YoY.
As a result of its recent growth, the company is opening its first office outside of Silicon Valley, in Denver.
“We by no means feel like our work is done; 50 million is a very small fraction of the 1.4 billion students on the planet,” Glotzbach told TechCrunch. “Our focus is growing the platform. If we


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Parity founder demos Substrate, live launches a blockchain in minutes instead of days or weeks

While the blockchain world has seemingly blazed along in the last 18 months, much of the action has been in the currency world. The underlying technologies building this world are growing at an equally blistering rate, but until now few have threatened to ‘game the game’. Today at the Web3 Summit in Berlin, Parity Technologies founder Gavin Wood demoed launching a blockchain in under 60 minutes, a previously unheard-of feat. Although it was hard to ascertain the demeanor of the quiet, and often subdued crowd of hardcore, hoodie-wearing blockchain developers arraigned before him in the vaulted, wooden paneling of East Berlin’s old DDR-era symphony hall, the excited chatter in the hallway after the presentation was palpable.
In a grand gesture, Wood launched a new blockchain in about 15 minutes from a brand new Mac laptop, from which he dramatically tore off the shrink wrap, in order to demonstrate how little time


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Document editor Coda adds third-party integrations with G Suite, Slack, Twilio and more

Coda, the smart collaborative document editor that breaks down the barriers between documents, spreadsheets, databases and presentations, is today launching one of its most important updates since its launch in 2017. With this update, users will be able to pull in data from third-party sources and send out messages to their teams on Slack or by SMS and email. With this, the company’s take on building living documents that are essentially small apps is now really taking shape.
“Coda is a new type of documents,” Coda co-founder and CEO Shishir Mehrotra told me. “It combines the best of documents, spreadsheets, presentations, applications into a new surface. The goal is to allow anybody to build a doc as powerful as an app.” That means you can use your inventory spreadsheet to build a small inventory management app, for example, that lives entirely in a tabbed Coda document. Mehrotra noted that many businesses essentially run on documents


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MongoDB switches up its open-source license

MongoDB is a bit miffed that some cloud providers — especially in Asia — are taking its open-source code and offering a hosted commercial version of its database to their users without playing by the open-source rules. To combat this, MongoDB today announced it has issued a new software license, the Server Side Public License (SSPL), that will apply to all new releases of its MongoDB Community Server, as well as all patch fixes for prior versions.
Previously, MongoDB used the GNU AGPLv3 license, but it has now submitted the SSPL for approval from the Open Source Initiative.
For virtually all regular users who are currently using the community server, nothing changes because the changes to the license don’t apply to them. Instead, this is about what MongoDB sees as the misuse of the AGPLv3 license. “MongoDB was previously licensed under the GNU AGPLv3, which meant companies who wanted to run MongoDB


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GitHub launches Actions, its workflow automation tool

For the longest time, GitHub was all about storing source code and sharing it either with the rest of the world or your colleagues. Today, the company, which is in the process of being acquired by Microsoft, is taking a step in a different but related direction by launching GitHub Actions. Actions allow developers to not just host code on the platform but also run it. We’re not talking about a new cloud to rival AWS here, but instead about something more akin to a very flexible IFTTT for developers who want to automate their development workflows, whether that is sending notifications or building a full continuous integration and delivery pipeline.
This is a big deal for GitHub . Indeed, Sam Lambert, GitHub’s head of platform, described it to me as “the biggest shift we’ve had in the history of GitHub.” He likened it to shortcuts in iOS — just more


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Sneaky subscriptions are plaguing the App Store

Subscriptions have turned into a booming business for app developers, accounting for $10.6 billion in consumer spend on the App Store in 2017, and poised to grow to $75.7 billion by 2022. But alongside this healthy growth, a number of scammers are now taking advantage of subscriptions in order to trick users into signing up for expensive and recurring plans. They do this by intentionally confusing users with their app’s design and flow, by making promises of “free trials” that convert after only a matter of days, and other misleading tactics.
Apple will soon have an influx of consumer complaints on its hands if it doesn’t reign in these scammers more quickly.
However, the company’s focus as of late has been more so on getting developers to give subscriptions a try — even holding “secret” meetings where it evangelizes the business model that’s earning developers (and therefore Apple itself) a lot of


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Here’s how to find out if your Facebook was hacked in the breach

Are you one of the 30 million users hit by Facebook’s access token breach announced two weeks ago? Here’s how to find out.

Facebook breach saw 15M users’ names & contact info accessed, 14M’s bios too

Visit this Facebook Help center link while logged in: https://www.facebook.com/help/securitynotice?ref=sec.
Scroll down to the section “Is my Facebook account impacted by this security issue?”
Here you’ll see a Yes or No answer to whether your account was one of the 30 million users impacted. Those affected will also receive a warning like this atop their News Feed:
If Yes, you’ll be in one of three categories:
A. You’re in the 15 million users’ whose name plus email and/or phone number was accessed.
B. You’re in the 14 million users’ who had that data plus account bio data accessed including “username, gender, locale/language, relationship status, religion, hometown, self-reported current city, birthdate, device types used to access Facebook, education, work, the last 10 places they


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