One year after acquiring Bitbucket, Atlassian is taking aim at GitHub. The company announced Git support with free, unlimited private Git repositories today. Git support is new to the Bitbucket service, which started around Mercurial repositories.

In addition to Git support, the company also announced a new importer for GitHub as well as importers for other hosted code collaboration services like Google Code, CodePlex and SourceForge.

GitHub allows free accounts with no private repositories, or a “Micro” account for $7 a month that allows up to five private repositories and one developer/user on GitHub. Bitbucket now starts with a free plan that allows five users and unlimited public and private repositories. The first paid plan for Bitbucket starts at $10 a month for 10 users.

GitHub Momentum

Competing on price is one way to challenge GitHub, but that seems to be the only feature where Bitbucket is competitive at the moment. While the free offering puts the heat on GitHub, there’s a lot of momentum behind GitHub – to the tune of more than two million repositories.

The bulk of users are on GitHub, and while BitBucket may have a slightly nicer price point, it’s pretty clear that the Atlassian folks are taking a big cue from GitHub with regards to features and user interface. That’s putting it lightly, of course. Another way to say it is that Bitbucket looks a lot like a clone of GitHub, and I’m not sure that developers will clamor to use a copy of GitHub just because it’s cheaper.

GitHub still has the edge on a few features of interest to some developers, too. For instance, there’s the GitHub for Mac client so that developers on the Mac OS X platform have a native GUI client for GitHub features. There’s also the Gist text pastebin service that integrates with Git tools.

I’m curious to hear from developers on this one, though. Is the price enough to jump ship, especially given that it’s easy to import Git repositories to Bitbucket? Or does the size of the GitHub community and its first-mover status on features keep GitHub at the top of the stack?