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Microsoft CEO said Pokemon Go could be gold for other companies

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he's happy that Pokemon Go was successful for Nintendo — because it will be good for him, too.

"This Pokemon interest will hopefully will translate into a lot of interest in HoloLens," Nadella said Monday on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

HoloLens, Microsoft's augmented reality play, takes the form of a headset. That's different than Nintedo's Pokemon Go, which has exploded in popularity by using mobile phones to let users interact with virtual cartoon characters in the "real world."

Microsoft employee Gillian Pennington demonstrates the Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality (AR) viewer during the 2016 Microsoft Build Developer Conference on March 30, 2016 in San Francisco, California.
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Microsoft employee Gillian Pennington demonstrates the Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality (AR) viewer during the 2016 Microsoft Build Developer Conference on March 30, 2016 in San Francisco, California.

That huge mobile phone audience helped send Nintendo shares up 24.5 percent in the Japanese trading session Monday.

Still, Nadella doesn't think that Microsoft missed the chance to have the next Pokemon — rather, he sees enterprise applications of augmented reality headsets taking off in the next two years, as people can use augmented reality hands-free for things like education and training.

"I think it's fantastic to see these augmented reality applications getting built, because the best thing that can happen when you're creating a new category is for applications that are these killer apps, whether it be game or in the industrial scenario, to get invested in," Nadella said.

Even General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt said that by helping field engineers fix machinery better the first time, augmented reality could be worth $50 billion to industrial companies like GE.

"I'm not a great gamer, so I can't really say how much that's worth — but the industrial applications of this are going to be billions of dollars of productivity," Immelt said.

He sees uses from refineries, to jet engines, to utility plants, he said.

"If you get sick of your iPhone you just throw it away and get another one. You don't do that with a jet engine or a gas turbine," Immelt said. "So our ability to deliver ... more productivity tools is like gold for our customers."