Why it matters: Microsoft is Amazon’s largest rival in the cloud services industry and Walmart is Amazon’s biggest retail competitor. By leveraging each other’s assets, they stand a better chance at besting their respective – and shared – competition.
Microsoft and Walmart on Tuesday announced a strategic partnership designed to further accelerate the retailer’s digital transformation.
As per the five-year agreement, Microsoft will become Walmart’s preferred cloud services provider, utilizing both Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 enterprise-wide alongside projects focused on artificial intelligence, machine learning and data platforms.
Dig a bit deeper, however, and you’ll arrive at a core component of the partnership – a shared rivalry with Amazon.
Just last month, a report surfaced suggesting Microsoft is developing a cashier-free system similar to Amazon’s Go concept. Walmart was named in the report as a partner of interest.
If you recall, Amazon opened its first cashier-free grocery store to the general public earlier this year in Seattle. The store uses a dizzying array of technology which allows shoppers to walk in, grab what they need and walk out without having to wait in line to check items out at a register. Instead, purchases are automatically charged to a shopper’s Amazon account.
Amazon plans to open six more Go stores by the end of the year.