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GE's bets: Clean tech, software and services

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General Electric's 2010 annual report, which is being distributed as an Apple iPad document via iTunes, is a tale of making growth bets. Areas that stood out include clean tech, software for workflow and analytics as well as infrastructure services.

General Electric's 2010 annual report, which is being distributed as an Apple iPad document via iTunes, is a tale of making growth bets. Areas that stood out include clean tech, software for workflow and analytics as well as infrastructure services.

Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, laid out the bets. The clean tech story for GE is well known. The company launched its ecoimagination effort, announced plans to buy 25,000 electric vehicles and be a key player in smart grids. GE funded 20 startup companies and entrepreneurs.

In addition, GE said it is investing heavily in thin film solar energy technology. The company said that its solar panels at its research center were generating 12+ percent

What was a bit of a surprise was GE and its ambitions to be an IT company in its key verticals.

Immelt wrote:

Services represent 70% of our Infrastructure earnings. We have a $130 billion services backlog at high margins. In 2011, our services revenue should grow between 5% and 10%.

We have an opportunity to expand our service business. About 90% of our service revenue is focused on the GE installed base. Meanwhile, our customers demand broader solutions. We plan to expand our presence in software into new areas in workflow, analytics and systems integration. We believe there is a $100 billion opportunity in software and services in infrastructure markets we know well.

Today, GE has $4 billion of revenue in infrastructure software in segments like healthcare information technology, Smart Grid, rail movement planners, engine monitoring and factory productivity. By investing in these platforms we can grow rapidly.

A deeper dive in the annual report notes freight movement software to move goods faster, a flight management system and health IT innovations.

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Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure