At its Worldwide Partner Conference on July 11, Microsoft announced a partnership with GE under which the industrial giant will integrate its Predix Internet of things (IoT) platform with the Microsoft Azure cloud platform as a service. The move will help large enterprises deploy industrial applications that leverage the IoT on Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure. It’s a big win for Microsoft as it seeks to demonstrate that it can keep pace with Amazon Web Services and IBM as one of the top cloud services providers. Enterprises are moving large portions of their IT resources to cloud services after overcoming their concerns about cloud security and being convinced they can reduce the amount of cash they spend on in-house data centers. Now Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Oracle and others are fighting to win as much of that business as they can. Furthermore, new research from IDC indicates that enterprises will pick up the pace of their move to a cloud platform. These factors highlight why the Microsoft-GE tie-up is big news. This eWEEK slide show covers IDC’s research and explains why the cloud is primed for a “boom” period.