General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) is a multinational conglomerate that manufactures large-scale industrial products, produces consumer appliances, and provides financial services. GE's operations now span the financial services, energy, industrial manufacturing and healthcare. In 2010, GE was ranked the second-largest company in the world by Forbes based on a formula that included sales, net income, assets, and market capitalization.
GE's diversification provides the company with a degree of protection against poor performance in any business segment. Additionally, GE's size enables it to buy and sell companies at opportune times, taking advantage of favorable market conditions. Acquisitions contributed $0.5 billion to net income and $3.4 billion to consolidated revenues in 2009.  The company aims to integrate acquired businesses as quickly as possible.
General Electric has announced a new overall strategy of focusing on its healthcare, engine, energy, and other core manufacturing businesses instead of its service-oriented businesses like GE Money and NBC Universal. In October 2010, GE Healthcare announced it would be acquiring Clarient (CLRT), a molecular diagnostics firm, for $587 million in cash. The company hopes that the deal will diversify its revenue base and push further into the medical imaging space.
This strategy change comes at the heels of the 2008 Financial Crisis, which has had a sizable effect on GE, since the company usually generates nearly a third of its revenue from GE Capital Services (GECS), the company's financing arm. On March 12, 2009, S&P downgraded GE to a "AA+" credit rating from its long-held "AAA" rating, citing increased uncertainty relating to GE Capital. GE's prospects are largely tied to the strength of the economic recovery.
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As a large conglomerate with substantial purchasing power, General Electric employs a strategy of acquiring and selling off companies to maximize revenues at any given time. By using this strategy to enter and exit various industries, GE adjusts its portfolio of offerings in order to take advantage of profitable conditions in any one market or industry. For example, improved fuel efficiency in airplane engines has reduced commercial airlines' operating costs, allowing them to expand their fleet of airplanes. GE has responded to this trend by expanding further into the engine production and airplane leasing businesses. Some notable acquisitions in the past several years include:
GE has been greatly expanding its presence across the world, particularly in emerging markets. International markets often provide higher growth potential, driving GE's push into new geographic regions. One particular area with high potential for international growth is cable and television programming, where GE operates 15 cable and satellite brands operating in over 100 countries. Management hopes to double its cable revenue to $500 million.  In October 2009, CEO Jeffrey Immelt said the company may double revenues from India to $6 billion in the next 3-4 years. 
Though global expansion offers the possibility for higher revenue growth, there are also some risks involved. Laws and regulations, which differ from country to country, can significantly impact GE's performance. For example, in December of 2006, Japan passed a law that lowered the maximum interest rate lenders (such as GE) can charge and put limits on consumer borrowing, leading GE to divest its Japanese businesses.
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In May 2005 GE announced the launch of a "Ecomagination" program intended to develop tomorrow’s solutions such as solar energy, hybrid locomotives, fuel cells, lower-emission aircraft engines, lighter and stronger durable materials, efficient lighting, and water purification technology. The bulbs are rated 8000 hours and guaranteed for five years. The company's increased emphasis on clean technology is an aggressive initiative to bring new technologies help consumers meet pressing environmental challenges. 
GE competes against a number of other companies, but most of them are more specialized, focusing in one indl,l,l,l,l,l,l,l,l,l ustry. GE's operations, on the other hand, are spread across many different industries, limiting its exposure to competition from any one company.