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Is GE Selling Its Digital Business?

GE is now looking to sell off pieces of its industrial Internet of Things business, after trying to build it into a top-10 software company, according to reports.

Mitch Wagner

July 31, 2018

2 Min Read
Is GE Selling Its Digital Business?

In the trend toward digital transformation, General Electric is the star pupil. The old-line manufacturer of industrial equipment has transformed itself into a technology provider, offering Internet of Things and cloud technologies to manufacturing and other heavy equipment businesses.

That could change drastically, if a report in the Wall Street Journal is true. GE is looking to sell off parts of its digital unit, which produced $500 million or more in revenue last year and lost money, the Journal reported Monday.

GE Digital, the company's software unit based in San Ramon, Calif., was key to the digital transformation vision of former CEO Jeff Immelt, who left last year. He sought to orient the company away from financial and media assets. Under Immelt, GE built Predix software to help customers, including utilities and airlines, gather and analyze data to better manage their equipment. GE Digital became a stand-alone unit in 2015 to distinguish it from GE's industrial divisions, with a goal of becoming a top ten software company by 2020, the Journal reports.

Figure 1: General Electric sign, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Photo by Momoneymoproblemz [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons General Electric sign, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Photo by Momoneymoproblemz [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

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GE bought ServiceMax in 2016, which provides software for inventory management and workforce scheduling. (See GE Buys ServiceMax in $915M Cloud Play.)

GE declined to comment on the Journal's report; a spokesperson told Light Reading the company doesn't comment on "rumor or speculation."

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About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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