If you do a blog search on "General Electric" you'll see that I don't care much for Jeff Immelt and his rentseeking/quasi-fascist approach to political capitalism. Research and Development has long been one of GE's strengths, so much so that it may be what saves the company.*
I'll buy the stock the day Immelt is fired by the board.
From GE's in-house blog, GE Reports:
With the first decade of the 2000s coming to a close tonight, we thought it would be a good time to toast a few of the many milestones reached over the last 10 years at GE Global Research — which is the company’s technology development arm. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in R&D since Jeff Immelt became Chairman and CEO in 2001, resulting in dramatic expansions at research headquarters in Niskayuna, New York and our center in Bangalore, India; the creation of global research centers in Munich and Shanghai; and new technology centers planned for Detroit, Michigan and Masdar City in the Middle East. Those investments either are, or soon will, produce an array of benefits for science, the marketplace and investors. To keep it short (so that you’ll have plenty of time to make it to the big party!) we’ve highlighted four that are about to jump from the lab — and four that have already made the leap.*"Can R&D Save General Electric?" and "GE's Risky Energy Research" (GE)
Technologies coming to market in the next 1-3 years:
- Batteries: GE’s $150 technology investment in advanced batteries, including the new sodium metal halide battery technology, positions the company to enter a $1 billion business over the next decade.
- Digital pathology: A joint venture between GE Healthcare and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center created a new company, Omnyx, to develop and commercialize a high speed scanner and software platform to bring pathology — which for over 150 years was practiced with a microscope and glass slides — into the digital age. It’s already caught the attention of industry thought leaders like Frost and Sullivan and the digitization of pathology and its work flow represents an estimated $2 billion global opportunity.
- Cell technologies: GE researchers are developing new tools and products for the emerging cell therapy market – which is a $1 billion market opportunity.
- Silicon carbide: With airplanes replacing traditional hydraulic systems with more efficient electrical designs, there’s a critical need for more on board electrical power. GE’s silicon carbide power semiconductor technology will dramatically reduce inefficiencies and the size and weight of electric components. It’s a $1 billion market opportunity.
Technologies already to market:
- Wind energy: GE acquired Enron’s Wind business out of bankruptcy for around $200 million. By 2008, GE’s wind business generated $6.7 billion in revenues – driven by significant technology investments to improve the turbines.
- Diesel emissions: GE’s Evolution Locomotive, launched in 2005, broke the longstanding paradigm in locomotives that reducing emissions came at the expense of lower fuel economy. The technology has produced $6.5 billion in orders won.
- Diagnostic imaging: GE’s ultrasound technology includes breakthroughs such as the compact Venue 40, which is the size of a laptop computer, and the new Vscan, which is a handheld ultrasound device that is coming to market in early 2010. In total, GE’s compact ultrasound sales were $800 million in the past four years.
- GEnx jet engine: The GEnx is the best selling engine for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the sole source engine for the Boeing 747-8 aircraft — and it uses advanced composite technologies developed in GE’s labs. With more than 1,100 engines on order, the GEnx is the fastest-selling large jet engine in GE history.
* Learn more about GE Global Research in these GE Reports stories.
We’ll be back on January 4, 2010. Happy New Year!