General Electric Company (GE) is an American multinational conglomerate incorporated in New York and headquartered in Boston. As of 2018, the company operates through the following segments: aviation, healthcare, power, renewable energy, digital, additive manufacturing, venture capital and finance, lighting, transportation, and oil and gas.
In 2018, GE ranked among the Fortune 500 as the 18th-largest firm in the U.S. by gross revenue. In 2011, GE ranked among the Fortune 20 as the 14th-most profitable company. Two employees of GE have been awarded the Nobel Prize: Irving Langmuir in 1932 and Ivar Giaever in 1973.
GE was one of the eight major computer companies of the 1960s along with IBM, Burroughs, NCR, Control Data Corporation, Honeywell, RCA and UNIVAC. GE had a line of general purpose and special purpose computers, including the GE 200, GE 400, and GE 600 series general purpose computers, the GE 4010, GE 4020, and GE 4060 real-time process control computers, and the DATANET-30 and Datanet 355 message switching computers (DATANET-30 and 355 were also used as front end processors for GE mainframe computers). A Datanet 500 computer was designed, but never sold.
In 1962, GE started developing its GECOS (later renamed GCOS) operating system, originally for batch processing, but later extended to timesharing and transaction processing. Versions of GCOS are still in use today. From 1964 to 1969, GE and Bell Laboratories (which soon dropped out) joined with MIT to develop the Multics operating system on the GE 645 mainframe computer. The project took longer than expected and was not a major commercial success, but it demonstrated concepts such as single level store, dynamic linking, hierarchical file system, and ring-oriented security. Active development of Multics continued until 1985.
GE got into computer manufacturing because in the 1950s they were the largest user of computers outside the United States federal government, aside from being the first business in the world to own a computer. Its major appliance manufacturing plant "Appliance Park" was the first non-governmental site to host one. However, in 1970, GE sold its computer division to Honeywell, exiting the computer manufacturing industry, though it retained its timesharing operations for some years afterwards. GE was a major provider of computer time-sharing services, through General Electric Information Services (GEIS, now GXS), offering online computing services that included GEnie.
In 2000 when United Technologies Corp. planned to buy Honeywell, GE made a counter-offer that was approved by Honeywell. On July 3, 2001, the European Union issued a statement that "prohibit the proposed acquisition by General Electric Co. of Honeywell Inc.". The reasons given were it "would create or strengthen dominant positions on several markets and that the remedies proposed by GE were insufficient to resolve the competition concerns resulting from the proposed acquisition of Honeywell."
On June 27, 2014, GE partnered with collaborative design company Quirky to announce its connected LED bulb called Link. The Link bulb is designed to communicate with smartphones and tablets using a mobile app called Wink
Source: Wikipedia, "General Electric", available under the CC-BY-SA License.