Microsoft, Walmart Join Forces Against Amazon

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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Walmart is to use Microsoft’s cloud services as it looks for ways to fend off pressure from Amazon

Microsoft and Walmart have announced a five-year deal that will see Amazon’s two biggest competitors pooling their retail resources.

The partnership, announced at Microsoft’s Inspire conference in Las Vegas, is to see Walmart using Microsoft cloud services such as Azure and Microsoft 365 across the company.

Alongside that the firms are to work together on new projects focused on machine learning, artificial intelligence and data platforms.

Walmart said it wants to use Microsoft’s technology to make shopping faster and easier for customers.

Cloud migration

As part of the arrangement Walmart and Microsoft said they would migrate a significant portion of walmart.com and samsclub.com to Azure.

Amazon has continued to pile pressure on retailers in recent months with the launch of a bricks-and-mortar store called Amazon Go and the purchase of an online pharmacy.

Microsoft has taken the opportunity to work with retailers on ways they can use its cloud services to stay competitive.

It has also reportedly begun working on technology that would eliminate the need for customers to pay at a cash register, similar to the till-free Amazon Go.

Walmart is one of the companies Microsoft has talked to about a collaboration on that technology, Reuters reported last month.

Microsoft acknowledged that the new Walmart deal would help both companies compete with rivals such as Amazon, with chief executive Satya Nadella telling the Wall Street Journal that the competitive aspect was “absolutely core” to the deal.

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