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News roundup: Microsoft prepares for Oracle on Azure

In this news roundup, read about Microsoft's plan for Oracle on Azure, industrial automation from GE, and Intel's 3-D printing investments.

Microsoft shares details of Oracle on Azure plan

Microsoft will start charging customers who runOracle software on its Azure platform starting March 12, the company announced this week. Previously, Oracle users were not billed by Microsoft, as the Azure-Oracle platforms had been considered "previews" and not the final code.

According to Microsoft officials, Oracle on Azure billing will be based on how many minutes a user's license-included Oracle VMs run per billing cycle. There is also a "Bring-Your-Own-License" option, in which Oracle Linux VMs are made available in the Windows Azure Gallery that includes pre-installed Oracle software.

GE launches industrial automation capabilities

GE Intelligent Platforms added trendy functionality to its Proficy manufacturing software line this week with the announcement of industrial automation-centric updates. The updates are designed to help manufacturers connect better across what GE calls the "industrial internet" -- more commonly known as the Internet of Things (IoT) or machine-to-machine (M2M) technology.

During a press conference at the ARC Forum in Orlando, Don Busiek, general manager of manufacturing software for GE Intelligent Platforms, outlined the new software. Proficy's updates will include improved mobility and access to real-time operational intelligence (RtOI) and predictive analytics on the data shared between connected machines.

"This data can help improve both the top and bottom line of a business, improving customer service, shortening lead times, improving production performance and operations efficiently, all while avoiding costly mistakes," said Busiek.

Intel invests in 3-D printing

Intel Capital dipped its toes into the 3-D printing waters with investments in two companies in that industry. The first, CGTrader, is a Lithuania-based 3-D model marketplace. Intel's second investment, U.S.-based makexyz, sells an online tool dedicated to helping people connect to 3-D printers in their area. Users can upload their own designs or choose previously uploaded designs from the database, then select the most convenient printer and pick up the finished product locally.

"3-D printing is changing the way individuals and businesses give life to ideas," said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and executive vice president of Intel Corporation. "We're seeing the impact of this technology on numerous industries, including manufacturing, medical, retail and consumable goods, among others. CGTrader and makexyz will drive the development of the ecosystem."

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