On the heels of Amazon’s Prime day, Microsoft and Walmart announced they will be joining forces under a five-year deal. Per Forbes Global 2000 list Microsoft ranks 20th and Walmart ranks 24th while Amazon ranks 53rd, clearly with this deal Microsoft and Walmart may be the top retailer globally.
As CNN reported, Walmart has been pushing aggressively to transform its digital operations in order to compete with online rivals. Interestingly enough, cloud computing is one of the few areas where Microsoft competes with Amazon. Amazon should be a tad worried about this partnership then again you never know what is in their bag of tricks.
The new agreement between both companies Walmart will increase its use of Microsoft‘s cloud services and work with their tech firm on artificial intelligence and machine learning projects. In the very near future, Walmart will be shifting a majority of walmart.com and samsclub.com to Azure, Microsoft’s cloud business. Walmart will also get access to artificial intelligence technology that could reduce energy consumption in its stores and machine learning expertise that would improve its delivery systems.
This agreement should not come as a shock to consumers. For a while now, Microsoft has been trying to convince retailers about the power of data and technology, working on everything from inventory to transport to online shopping. Recently, Walmart their new personal shopping service that lets customers order items via a text message with speedy delivery to compete with other retailers doing the same. To compete in the market further, they also just launched new apps for back-to-school shopping.
According to Walmart’s press release they have already been using Microsoft services for critical applications and workloads and will now embark a broad set of cloud innovation projects that leverage machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data platform solutions for a wide range of external customer-facing services and internal business applications.
The new deal will help both companies tackle large retail companies on a global level and give consumers a better digital and artificial intelligence experience. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this partnership over the next five years.