Microsoft and Walmart announced yesterday that the two companies will be teaming up in order to take on their biggest rival Amazon in the United States. The five-year partnership will enable Walmart to back up its operations with Microsoft’s cloud services, machine learning, artificial intelligence and many other projects.
Walmart and Microsoft compete with Amazon in both retail and cloud services, respectively. The rivalry is a very important part of the partnership between the two companies. The Wall Street Journal quoted CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella saying that it, “is absolutely core to this,” further stating, “How do we get more leverage as two organizations that have depth and breadth and investment to be able to outrun our respective competition.”
Walmart plans in using Microsoft’s services in multiple areas, starting right from optimizing store shelves, freezers and other equipment. The two companies will also look at new ways to use customer and product data. This might also involve developing a new system that can share product-sale data with suppliers of Walmart.
This is also not the first time Walmart and Microsoft are partnering up to take on Amazon. Only a few weeks ago, it was reported that Microsoft is working on a technology to build cashless stores, just like Amazon Go. The company was in talks with a number of the retailers, one of the them being Walmart. Microsoft even brought in a computer vision specialist from Amazon Go, who suggested on attaching cameras to shopping carts to track the items customers get.
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Walmart on the other hand also seems to be taking its rivalry with the Amazon seriously and in the process, has been slowly opening up to technology. Last year, the company started listing its products on Google Express, which is an online shopping place for customers who own Google Home speakers. This way the company could compete with Amazon Alexa services.