Microsoft unveiled a new open-source tool Windows Package Manager at Build 2020, also known as "Winget" at Build 2020 last week. The tool has been designed for power users and developers to make it easier for them to quickly search, view, and install commonly used developer tools.
However, according to Keivan Beigi, the developer of a package manager app named AppGet, Microsoft's new Windows Package Manager has been heavily inspired by his own work. Beigi claims that Microsoft has copied the core operation of his package manager to build their own Winget.
The Canadian developer provided details of his several meeting sessions with a high-level manager at Microsoft, back in 2019. Microsoft directly approached the developer last summer and started discussing ideas to implement package managers in the Windows ecosystem. This discussion led to several job interviews where Microsoft offered him a role at Microsoft. Not only this, the Redmond giant even showed its interest in acquiring AppGet. Alongside this acquisition, the company wanted Beigi to oversee and improve software distribution while working on AppGet.
The developer never heard back from Microsoft after his last contact which took place in February this year. However, a day before the official announcement of Winget, Beigi received an email from Microsoft informing him that the software giant is going to announce its "own" Windows Package Manager at Build, held virtually this year. Microsoft told him that they would call out his work in their blog post, but only did so in a row with various other package managers.
Beigi says that he waited until the next day to see the functionality of this new package manager. Unfortunately, he was shocked to see that the "core mechanics, terminology, the manifest format and structure, even the package repository’s folder structure" was indeed inspired by his own package manager. The company didn't bother to credit AppGet and just briefly mentioned it once in its blog post alongside other Windows package managers. The developer did readily admit that his work was open source and none of it was patented.
The disheartened Canadian developer has announced that he will stop developing AppGet, and it will now be shut down in the first week of August. In an email to The Verge, Beigi said that there is no point in competing with Winget and he was only looking for some recognition of his work from Microsoft.
"The announcement was especially bad given how little credit was given to AppGet compared to other projects," Beigi said. “I think some attribution / credit would be fair but I don’t think it really matters what I’d like to happen".
A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge that the company is currently investigating the matter. "We regret to hear about this candidate’s experience and are reviewing the circumstances internally," Microsoft said today.