The partnership will enable Wal-Mart to boost its online presence and tap into Microsoft’s repertoire of cloud services and advances in artificial intelligence technologies which could potentially enable it to provide customers at its brick and mortar stores cashier-less checkouts.
On Tuesday, Walmart Inc, the world’s biggest brick-and-mortar retailer, disclosed it had entered into a strategic partnership with Microsoft Corp.
The collaboration marks the coming together of some of the biggest rivals of Amazon.com and is aimed at deploying at a larger scale Microsoft’s cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
The 5-year collaboration will see Walmart leveraging the full spectrum of Microsoft’s cloud solutions, Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure. The collaboration is aimed at making shopping easier and faster for customers, said Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart in a statement.
It went on to add, as part of the partnership, Microsoft’s and Walmart’s engineers will work together to migrate a significant portion of walmart.com and samsclub.com to Azure, said Walmart.
The move marks Walmart’s doubling down on its e-commerce strategy as it prepares to give a fiercer competition to Amazon.com
Incidentally, Microsoft has been working on a technology that would eliminate cashiers and checkout lines from stores.
Microsoft’s technology will enable retailers to keep pace with Amazon Go, the world’s largest online retailer’s automated brick-and-mortar store format.
Incidentally, Microsoft has shown a sample of the technology to retailers around the world and has already held talks with Walmart about a potential collaboration.