Two months ago, we published a blog about a letter from GE declaring "non-base" software options on GE systems non-transferrable. In that blog, we mentioned our expectation of finding more details on that development in an upcoming trip to the IAMERS meeting in Portugal. Well, we're back from Portugal, and, as promised, we're going to share with you what we learned.
At the meeting, Joe Shrawder, President and CEO of GE Healthcare Global Services gave a presentation on the future of the imaging marketplace. The Q & A session that came after was a key time for further insight on the letter. Below are the highlights of that time.
To set the stage, the room was filled with a dynamic and interesting mix of competitors and vendors who buy and sell equipment to GE and even represent and distribute GE products around the world.
GE Global Services Q & A Highlights
1. While the plan for enforcing non-transferability of software licenses was not entirely clear, the intention to enforce the terms and conditions was.
2. A concern was raised due to the fact that the letter was initiated from GE Healthcare USA. Mr. Shrawder committed to issue a similar letter from GE Europe to applicable vendors.
3. A question was raised regarding the tax implications of asset depreciation (and items like the Section 179 deduction) due to the reduced capital value of systems having software options removed. Mr. Shrawder declined to speculate on the accounting implications
4. Concern was raised over the perceived delta between marketing literature and terms and conditions.
5. GE noted a desire to bring uniformity to the process of acquiring software options and pricing which is presently a challenging endeavor.
6. There were concerns regarding customers' understanding of the non-transferability due to the fact that it has not been enforced to date. Mr. Shrawder shared that, during the sales process, the GE product team ensures that customers are aware of this reality, which is stated in GE's terms and conditions.
While the Q and A session took the lion’s share of time and attention, Mr. Shrawder’s presentation was particularly insightful in reference to consolidation, technology shifts, cloud-based imaging software, and continuing challenges in the compliance arena.
As more information/situations arise, we'll do our best to continue keeping you apprised of the latest on this matter.