Microsoft Acquiring JavaScript Dev Platform npm, Will Integrate with GitHub

Microsoft plans to acquire the popular JavaScript repository npm Inc. and integrate it with its GitHub collaborative software development platform, the company said this week.

GitHub CEO Nat Friedman announced the acquisition in a blog post, but offered no details about the financial terms of the deal.

"We at GitHub are honored to be part of the next chapter of npm's story and to help npm continue to scale to meet the needs of the fast-growing JavaScript community," Friedman wrote.

npm, which originally stood for "Node Package Manager," was developed in 2009 as an open source project to help JavaScript developers share packaged modules of code. It comprises a command line client, also called npm, and an online database of public and paid-for private packages, called the npm Registry. The npm Registry is currently home to more than 1.3 million packages with 75 billion downloads a month.

In his blog post, Friedman promised that GitHub would invest in the npm Registry and platform, and that the command-line interface will "remain free and open source." GitHub will continue to support customers that use the paid npm Pro, Teams, and Enterprise products for hosting private registries, he said.

Friedman also explained that GitHub has been working to integrate npm packages with GitHub Packages, and that it will facilitate the migration of private npm packages to GitHub Packages sometime later this year.

Those sorts of details were affirmed in a Monday blog post by Isaac Z. Schlueter, npm's chief open technology officer. He indicated that the npm public registry will still be free to use. He expressed enthusiasm for the GitHub acquisition as it will serve to maintain the npm registry over time.

"As we dug into the technical and strategic plans for how npm would fit into the vision of GitHub moving forward, it became clear that this isn't just a good option for the JavaScript community -- it's significantly better than what npm, Inc., can provide on its own," Schlueter wrote.

npm, which is based in Oakland, Calif., is a startup founded in 2014 to provide an open source package manager for Node.js. Microsoft bought GitHub, an open source code repository, in 2018 for $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock. At the time, Microsoft promised that GitHub would remain an open platform and said it would operate as a separate entity. GitHub claims to support more than 28 million developers.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].