Remember the TV ads where the recent college graduate gets a job with GE? He then must explain to his parents that it is not an old-line dirty industrial company but a hip software company.

Send those ads to the never, never land of wherever bits go when they are deleted from servers.

GE has been trying to divest GE Digital for about a year. Evidently there were no takers. It just announced spinning off Digital into a new “IoT Software Company.” Or, if you want the GE spin on the action, “GE Advances Digital Leadership with Launch of $1.2 Billion Industrial IoT Software Company.”

I attended just one GE Digital Minds+Machines conference. It was 2017, and after listening to the new CEO (who is now a former CEO) asked “could this be the last Minds+Machines?” Appears I was right.

Bullet points from the press release:

  • New GE-owned, independently run entity will be established to expand company’s leadership in IIoT market and better serve industrial customers
  • GE selling majority stake in ServiceMax

The company will start with $1.2 billion in annual software revenue and an existing global industrial customer base. The company is intended to be a GE wholly-owned, independently run business with a new brand and identity, its own equity structure, and its own Board of Directors. The proposed new organization aims to bring together GE Digital’s IIoT solutions including the Predix platform, Asset Performance Management, Historian, Automation (HMI/SCADA), Manufacturing Execution Systems, Operations Performance Management, and the GE Power Digital and Grid Software Solutions businesses.

Additionally, GE announced an agreement to sell a majority stake in ServiceMax, a leading provider of field service management software, to Silver Lake, a leading private equity firm focused on technology investments. With these actions, GE will sharpen the focus of its IIoT portfolio to position the new business for future growth. The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2019, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

“As an early leader in IIoT, GE has built a strong business with its industrial customers thanks to deep domain knowledge and software expertise,” said GE Chairman and CEO H. Lawrence Culp, Jr. “As an independently operated company, our digital business will be best positioned to advance our strategy to focus on our core verticals to deliver greater value for our customers and generate new value for shareholders.”

GE’s new IIoT business would provide software for these asset intensive industries with a focus on the power, renewables, aviation, oil and gas, food and beverage, chemicals, consumer packaged goods and mining industries.

GE Digital CEO, Bill Ruh, has decided to depart GE to pursue other opportunities. The company intends to conduct an internal and external search to identify the CEO for this new independent company. Further details on GE’s new IIoT software company will be announced in Q1 2019. This plan is subject to customary regulatory approvals, including information and consultation with employee representatives where required.

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