- GitHub Copilot, the platform's AI-based pair programming tool, added 400,000 subscribers since its public release in June, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said July 26 during a FY22 Q4 earnings call for the period ending June 30.
- "Leaders in every industry, from Ahold Delhaize, to KPMG, to Philips are all choosing GitHub to build software," said Nadella during the call.
- GitHub released Copilot under a limited technical preview in June 2021. The tool uses a GPT-3 based engine to suggest lines of code or entire functions. The tool costs developers $10 per month, but is free for students and maintainers of open source projects.
With GitHub Copilot, Microsoft is aiming to own a slice of the AI software market, which is set to grow by 21% in 2022, according to Gartner projections. With tech talent in high demand, enterprise leaders are searching for ways to speed up software development.
"When we look at our telemetry, we see that in files where Copilot is enabled, Copilot writes up to 35% to 40% of the code," said Thomas Dohmke, CEO at GitHub, speaking at an investor relations fireside chat June 14. "That's a mind-blowing productivity improvement."
Microsoft sits at a privileged spot in the developer tool space, as maker of the widely used programming interface Microsoft Visual Studio — though Copilot is available as a plugin for a number of other programming environments.
But it's far from the only competitor in the AI coding tool space. AWS in June announced a solution under technical preview mode, Amazon CodeWhisperer, which it describes as an "ML-powered coding companion." Other players in the space include Tabnine.
Though the maturity of code autocomplete tools is a work in progress, these tools address an enterprise need to accelerate software development and potentially reduce errors. But they're not impervious — one study by researchers from New York University and the University of Calgary found vulnerabilities in 40% of code suggested by GitHub.
Still, GitHub stands behind the security features built into its platform. GitHub's Advanced Security features let users scan code for vulnerabilities, ensuring the open source components used are up to date, Dohmke said.
Correction: This story has been updated to omit a reference to Codota. Tabnine and Codota are the same company.