Microsoft, GE team up in health care venture

General Electric, a giant in clinical settings, has turned out to be a key partner for Wintel's health care ambitions.

General Electric and Microsoft have formed a health care company with a 50-50 ownership split. Sound familiar? It should. GE has a similar joint venture with Intel.

Add it up and GE has turned out to be a key partner for Wintel’s health care ambitions.

The GE-Microsoft healthcare joint venture is focused on patient outcomes as well as real-time data. The companies are planning to develop an open platform as well as clinical applications. Microsoft also finds a home for a bevy of technologies acquired when the software giant bought Sentillion two years ago.

With the move, GE has formed ventures with both sides of Wintel. GE and Intel already have a partnership focused on telehealth. The Intel and Microsoft ventures with GE both have 50-50 ownership splits.

Health care costs are a big focus for technology companies. GE, a major provider of gear and information systems in the health care industry, is partnering with leading technology companies. Meanwhile, IBM is taking mini-Watsons into hospitals for diagnosis and analytics support. With healthcare costs surging, a lot of money will be spent on technology in an attempt to make systems more efficient.

The joint venture combines Microsoft's ecosystem with GE's clinical workflow tools. In a statement, GE CEO Jeff Immelt said that his company and Microsoft are "complementary" and that the joint venture will "further advance the two companies' shared vision of a connected, patient-centric health care system."

According to the companies, the joint venture will launch in the first half of 2012 and Michael Simpson, general manager at GE Healthcare IT, will be CEO. The venture hasn't been named yet, but will be based near Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Wash.

Among the key points:

  • Microsoft's applications will connect to GE's hardware and be implemented by GE Healthcare IT.
  • Microsoft contributes Amalga, a health intelligence platform; Vergence, a context management system; and ExpreSSO, a single sign-on technology. Many of Microsoft's technologies in the joint venture were acquired from Sentillion.
  • GE contributes eHealth, an information exchange, and Qualibria, a clinical knowledge management application.
  • The overall goal is to provide a "health care performance management suite." Both GE and Microsoft will sell their own wares in the health care market.

Microsoft’s HealthVault technology was left out of the GE joint venture.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "With Microsoft healthcare venture, GE lines up Wintel."

 

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