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Microsoft says it has been and continues to be a platform company

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (left) and General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt

Toronto, ON – To Microsoft, the possibilities are only emerging.

At Day 1 of the company’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in downtown Toronto, the software giant was light on announcements, and what was announced came from partners.

First, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella welcomed onstage General Electric (GE) CEO Jeff Immelt – one of few executives, perhaps, that can rival Nadella in clout.

The announcement was simple. GE’s Predix, a platform for building and deploying industrial applications is coming to Azure.

As Microsoft puts it, the move marks a broad strategic partnership between the two companies, but the implications touch cloud, analytics, IoT and Cortana to name a few, not to mention perhaps a new focus from Microsoft on industry.

The second and third partners brought onstage came from the water and airline industries.

Ecolab, a water, hygiene and energy IT provider demoed how its technology running on Azure conserves water while maintaining efficiency, while Japan Airlines showed off an augmented reality education tool to demo the makeup of a jet engine.

The message here was clear: “Look at all the cool things people can build on Microsoft.”

It was one echoed later on by Jason Brommet, commercial channel lead at Microsoft Canada, who added that Microsoft has been and continues to be a platform company.

“Azure in and of itself is not much,” Brommet told CDN. “We’re selling solutions that happen to be powered by Azure.”

Looking at its cloud platform, as well as its newly opened Canadian data centres, Windows 10, HoloLens and the new Cortana Intelligence Suite and Bot Framework, it’s true that Microsoft has never had more platforms on which to build.