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Microsoft's Satya Nadella and GE's Jeff Immelt at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto this morning. (Microsoft Photo.)
Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and GE’s Jeff Immelt at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto this morning. (Microsoft Photo.)

Microsoft and General Electric this morning said they will make GE’s Predix platform for the Internet of Things (IoT) available for industrial businesses on Microsoft’s Azure cloud service. It will be available through AppSource, the repository of apps from Microsoft and its partners announced last week.

The move “marks the first step in a broad strategic collaboration between the two companies, which will allow customers around the world to capture intelligence from their industrial assets and take advantage of Microsoft’s enterprise cloud applications,” the companies said in a news release.

Predix is PaaS (platform as a service) claimed to enable industrial-scale analytics for asset performance management and operations optimization by providing a standard way to connect machines, data, and people.

The collaboration between GE and Microsoft could boost Azure’s stature in the IoT realm. When GE announced Predix, in August 2015, it apparently intended to build its own cloud service, not to partner. Today’s announcement is a high-profile partnership for Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform as the Redmond company competes with Amazon, Google and others in cloud services.

“Our idea is open Predix, and hopefully many of you will open it up and build on it,” said Jeff Immelt, GE’s chairman and CEO, during a short interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto.  “We bring a marriage between analytics and physics” that the company hopes will achieve objectives such as no unplanned downtime, a phenomenon that costs tens of billions of dollars in productivity, he said.

GE and Microsoft said they 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.

A developer preview is set for released toward the end of this year, and Predix on Azure will be commercially available by the second quarter of 2017, the companies said.

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