Microsoft trades Windows hardware for Cloud services in new GE partnership

We reported recently that GE would be standardizing on Apple mobile hardware, and would also offer Apple Mac computers to their 330,000 employees.

The mobile devices would run GE’s Predix software which lets companies write industrial applications that can predict failures and reduce operating costs.

Now Fortune reports that Microsoft’s Azure cloud services would form the backbone of the Predix service, forming part of a deeper partnership with GE, according to Bill Ruh, Chief Executive of GE Digital.

Azure will support the growth of the entire industrial IoT ecosystem by offering Predix customers access to the largest cloud footprint, along with data sovereignty, hybrid capabilities, and advanced developer and data services. In addition, GE and Microsoft plan to integrate Predix with Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence Suite along with Microsoft business applications, such as Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Power BI, in order to connect industrial data with business processes and analytics.

The joint effort, which is being announced today by  GE Chief Executive Officer John Flannery and Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, is focused initially on oil-and-gas and mining companies, but would also be applicable to other companies that run Microsoft software, which includes the vast majority of industrial companies, Ruh said.

The move appears to be another case of Microsoft moving from the client side to the higher margin services side, building strength in cross-platform support rather than focussing on its own platform.

The approach appears to have served Microsoft well, with its share price at an all-time high and the company now worth more than $600 billion.

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