General Electric is reportedly looking to sell its Predix and software assets as it retreats from a grand plan to be a tech company and leader of the industrial Internet.
According to The Wall Street Journal, GE will auction off its technology assets, which include ServiceMax, Meridium as well as Predix. Former CEO Jeff Immelt pushed a strategy to make GE a top 10 software company by 2020.
That plan is now dead. Although GE will keep some software assets for its power and aerospace businesses, the company will shelve plans to be a major software provider. What a difference 3 years makes:
- GE to standardize Predix platform on Microsoft Azure
- Developers favoring AWS, Microsoft Azure for cloud IoT platforms
- GE to hone digital efforts, leverage additive manufacturing as it focuses on core businesses
- GE Digital expands edge capabilities on Predix
- GE picks AWS as preferred cloud provider
- GE to roll out its Predix Asset Performance Management software at its monitoring, diagnostic center
- GE updates Predix to optimize utilities, enable smarter energy trading
- Inside GE's Digital Solutions unit: Talking IoT development with Ganesh Bell
- GE opens Paris 'Digital Foundry' in international industrial IoT push
- GE forms GE Digital, aims to be top 10 software company
- GE CEO makes case for industrial Internet, analytics opportunities
- GE's Immelt on software strategy: 'Why not us?'
When the history of the Internet of things is written, GE will be remembered not so much for Predix, but the marketing of its software.
C3 IoT CEO Tom Siebel quipped to me in a previous interview that GE's marketing advanced his cause and the idea behind the industrial Internet more than his startup ever could. GE's marketing might alone--and the advertising that developers also could work for the company--raised awareness of the Internet of things.
GE's retreat from GE Digital looks shortsighted to me, but the company has larger issues that it needs to fix. Notably, GE needs to fix its balance sheet, focus and resize to survive and maybe even thrive. Detours into becoming a software company won't fly in that environment.
In many respects, GE's retreat is similar to Ford's. Ford is also retooling and honing its focus even though it led the charge into smart transportation and mobility.
GE's Predix platform was already sucking wind so it's not like rivals such as Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, C3 IoT and IBM have any more market share to plow. What's likely to happen is that Honeywell and Siemens will gain software clout in industrial markets. Honeywell and Siemens have quietly pursued the GE strategy without the costs and marketing hubbub.
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