Microsoft signs GE in massive cloud deal

General Electric has signed up to use Microsoft's cloud software

General Electric has signed up to use Microsoft’s cloud software

Microsoft announced this week that it has signed up long-time tech partner GE to its cloud-based productivity software in a multimillion dollar deal.

The move will see GE deploy Microsoft’s cloud productivity suite Office 365 to GE’s more than 300,000 employees in 170 countries.

Jamie Miller, senior vice president and chief information officer of GE said: “As we deepen our investments in employee productivity, Microsoft’s innovative approach to collaboration made Office 365 our first choice for providing scalable productivity tools to our employees worldwide.”

GE said it will integrate a number of its line of business applications with Office 365 and deploy cloud-based email and Skype for Business calling and meetings, real-time document co-authoring, and team collaboration.

“Microsoft and GE share many values in common — openness, transparency, data-driven intelligence and innovation — all of which are driving forces behind Microsoft’s own mission to help people and organizations achieve more,” said John Case, corporate vice president of Microsoft Office. “As one of the most innovative companies in the world, GE understands what it takes to unleash the potential of its employees. We’re delighted GE has selected Office 365 as the productivity and collaboration solution to empower its global workforce.”

GE and Microsoft are longtime technology partner. The two companies have even set up a joint venture together – Caradigm, a company that develops and sells a healthcare technology platform for clinical applications and population management.

Nevertheless, the deal comes at a critical time for the company and is in some ways a validation of Microsoft’s goal of turning its business around from a number of strategic stumbles and focusing on its core strengths in software and the cloud. Earlier this month the company reported it would write off its entire Nokia acquisition and shed about 7,800 jobs in the process, mostly from its phone business.