Microsoft and Walmart Take on Amazon With New Partnership

Walmart is signing a five-year-long tech partnership deal with Microsoft today. The partnership will see Walmart using Microsoft’s cloud and commercial products, some of which are already being used by the firm to power its core services.

With the new partnership, both Walmart and Microsoft will be working together to compete with Amazon. For Microsoft, Walmart using its cloud-services will give it a jumpstart Amazon’s cloud services, which continues to be the firm’s biggest rival. For Walmart, the company will be able to use Microsoft’s AI tech to compete with Amazon on the future of retail.

As part of the partnership, Walmart will be moving its website and services to Microsoft Azure. The company will also start developing a number of projects that utilize artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data platform solutions, all powered by the Microsoft cloud. Walmart also plans on rolling out Microsoft 365 to all of its employees in different phases, making use of Microsoft products like Office 365, Workplace Analytics, OneDrive, and more to improve the inner-organisational workings of the firm.

In an interview with WSJ, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella says Microsoft and Walmart’s shared rivalry with Amazon is “absolutely core” to the new partnership. Microsoft will be deploying its own engineers across Walmart offices to help with the new partnership, and the companies are reportedly working on a modern new system to share product sales data with suppliers.

While there were recent rumours of Microsoft working with Walmart to build cashierless stores for Walmart to take on Amazon Go, Walmart’s head of U.S. e-commerce Marc Lore said the company is working on its own on that front. Either way, the five-year-long partnership seems promising for both the companies, though it’s too early to tell whether it’s enough to take on Amazon’s aggressively growing tech and retail business.

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Conversation 27 comments

  • Waethorn

    17 July, 2018 - 8:09 am

    <p>A couple takeaways:</p><p><br></p><p>"While there were recent rumours of Microsoft working with Walmart to build cashierless stores for Walmart to take on Amazon Go, Walmart’s head of U.S. e-commerce Marc Lore said the company is working on its own on that front."</p><p><br></p><p>Microsoft killed off their POS and ecommerce products quite a while back. (Cue 'POS' jokes about Windows still being around)</p><p><br></p><p>"the five-year-long partnership seems promising for both the companies"</p><p><br></p><p>Microsoft will have some revenue to invest in a Windows replacement when it goes EOL at that time.</p>

    • crmguru

      Premium Member
      17 July, 2018 - 9:56 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#292875"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><p>Msft has a growing Retail Operations business. Just go to a Microsoft store to see it in action. The Dynamics Platform works in retailers pos systems. But that is not the play here, but for the record… It is a thing. </p>

    • jgnetworksecurity

      18 July, 2018 - 4:39 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#292875"><em>In reply to Waethorn:</em></a></blockquote><p>BABA BOOEY!!!</p>

  • madthinus

    Premium Member
    17 July, 2018 - 8:20 am

    <p>Interesting. </p>

  • Jwilcox1701

    17 July, 2018 - 8:31 am

    <p>I feel like Microsoft needs to make sure it has enough oxygen, itself, before it shares its mask with Wal-Mart.</p>

    • Jwilcox1701

      17 July, 2018 - 11:07 am

      <blockquote><a href="#292878"><em>In reply to Jwilcox1701:</em></a></blockquote><p>Don't get me wrong, I very much appreciate Microsoft's tools &amp; technologies… but from a PR perspective, Microsoft is barely shaking the "I'm a PC" image that Apple stuck on it, years ago. Wal-Mart has some serious PR issues of its own, and the two, together, feel like a dangerous storm. That said, Amazon needs competition, and this checks that checkbox much better than Azure or Wal-Mart alone.</p>

      • Daekar

        17 July, 2018 - 12:06 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#292916"><em>In reply to Jwilcox1701:</em></a></blockquote><p>It's funny, I feel like in a world where Amazon and Google seem poised to devour the entire world, even Walmart paired with Microsoft doesn't seem nearly as dangerous as it once would have. Sort of like pair of Velociraptors might be your friend in fighting off a pair Tyrannosauri… you're still going to get eaten in the end, but the monsters doing the eating will take smaller bites in the process.</p>

      • lvthunder

        Premium Member
        17 July, 2018 - 12:39 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#292916"><em>In reply to Jwilcox1701:</em></a></blockquote><p>Microsoft is selling it's enterprise services to one of the biggest enterprises in the country. What's wrong with that.</p>

  • nbplopes

    17 July, 2018 - 8:32 am

    <p>Why is MS getting into retail wars as if it does not have its own to win, does not make much sense to me. Amazon and MS compete with the Cloud business, being the Amazon the first to be serious about it. Ok …I guess MS sees any technology driven company, as a rival regardless. As the businesses move to use more and more tech I guess MS will every with single success business in the world, didn't they tried to be a bank with MS points? … and than they will crumble.</p><p><br></p><p>Total lack of focus and it shows with Windows 10.</p>

    • dontbe evil

      17 July, 2018 - 8:38 am

      <blockquote><a href="#292879"><em>In reply to nbplopes:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>because MS has only 10 employees, right?</p>

    • Chris_Kez

      Premium Member
      17 July, 2018 - 9:21 am

      <blockquote><a href="#292879"><em>In reply to nbplopes:</em></a></blockquote><p>Per the release, "…<span style="color: rgb(47, 47, 47);">Walmart has selected the full range of Microsoft cloud solutions, including Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 for enterprise-wide use…", and "There are also massive benefits to operating at scale as Walmart builds a global IoT platform on Azure – from connected HVAC and refrigeration units to reduce energy usage in thousands of U.S. stores or applying machine learning when routing thousands of trucks in the supply chain."</span></p><p>Azure, Microsoft 365, AI/ML, IoT– isn't this kind of engagement exactly what Microsoft has been focusing on since Satya Nadella became CEO? If they're not going to partner with the world's largest publicly traded employer to do this kind of thing, then who should they work with? </p>

      • nbplopes

        17 July, 2018 - 10:51 am

        <blockquote><a href="#292887"><em>In reply to Chris_Kez:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I think it’s great MS having its tech used by many companies including Walmart. You know, to optimize businesses processes, automating all sorts of things. It’s just great.</p><p><br></p><p>But having Nadella point out that for MS this move has todo with some rivalry between MS and Amazon retail business it’s just stupid. What does Nadella know about retail compared with Amazon and Bezos to even think about inivation in retail processes. In comparison, I bet, 0, zilch, nada. That is where the secret not in using tech per tech sake. Whaaaayy I’m using the Cloud, great, so what?</p><p><br></p><p>Unless of course this business is similar to the one done with a city police department I heard a year ago or so.</p>

        • Chris_Kez

          Premium Member
          17 July, 2018 - 11:08 am

          <blockquote><a href="#292913"><em>In reply to nbplopes:</em></a></blockquote><p>I think you are misinterpreting either Nadella's comments or the author's prose. Nadella is not suggesting that there is some kind of Microsoft-Amazon competition in the <em>retail</em> space, or that Walmart is looking to leverage Microsoft's <em>retail</em> expertise; rather Microsoft and Walmart are working together against a common rival.</p>

          • Wolf

            Premium Member
            17 July, 2018 - 12:52 pm

            <blockquote><a href="#292918"><em>In reply to Chris_Kez:</em></a></blockquote><p>Agreed. Walmart's rivalry with Amazon is retail. Microsoft's rivalry with Amazon is cloud services. Different issues, common enemy, and a beneficial relationship for both Walmart and Microsoft.</p>

          • nbplopes

            17 July, 2018 - 6:02 pm

            <blockquote><a href="#292918"><em>In reply to Chris_Kez:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I understand. But Nadella says that core to the partnership is their common rivalry wilth Amazon. What does that mean really?</p><p><br></p><p>If it means nothing, it would be better to phrase it in a way that its more meaningful. </p>

    • bmacombe

      Premium Member
      17 July, 2018 - 9:23 am

      <blockquote><a href="#292879"><em>In reply to nbplopes:</em></a></blockquote><blockquote><em>Sounds like a great enterprise services agreement for Azure…Walmart doesn't want to give cloud business to Amazon and Microsoft wants the same. It's good for both industries to ensure there is no dominate player in either. </em></blockquote>

    • lwetzel

      Premium Member
      17 July, 2018 - 11:07 am

      <blockquote><a href="#292879"><em>In reply to nbplopes:</em></a></blockquote><p>Not so sure MS is getting into a war. Seems to me WM is hiring MS services to battle Amazon. Not MS's fault they provide a usable cloud, etc.</p>

    • Brian Aurich

      18 July, 2018 - 3:56 am

      <blockquote><a href="#292879"><em>In reply to nbplopes:</em></a></blockquote><p>Microsoft has already been successfully competing and growing in the cloud business. Walmart needs cloud and technology services. Why would any retail company that competes with some part of Amazon use AWS? AWS just helps to fuel Amazons other businesses. Any company competing against Amazon should be moving to MS, Google or another cloud provider. AWS should not be an option.</p>

  • Daekar

    17 July, 2018 - 9:48 am

    <p>The question is, does Walmart offer approximately the diversity of products available on Amazon? Obviously they have an advantage over Amazon for local stuff and pickup, but I feel like before I consider switching from Amazon I'll have to do a bit of comparison shopping…</p>

  • Darekmeridian

    17 July, 2018 - 11:15 am

    <p><em>"As part of the partnership, Walmart will be moving its website and services to Microsoft Azure." </em></p><p><br></p><p>I wonder who they are using currently. </p>

  • ben55124

    Premium Member
    17 July, 2018 - 11:21 am

    <p>Ask their new retail buddy to sell Surface Gos.</p>

  • bluvg

    18 July, 2018 - 9:02 pm

    <p>Ugh. For consumers, Walmart stores are the antithesis of high-tech. Their automated checkout lines treat you like criminals. Overly sensitive scales or something? Even with a handful of items, I end up having to wait for someone to help unlock the POS terminal several times. Their bags are absolutely useless–unbelievably flimsy and poorly designed (maybe to get people to bring their own?). </p><p><br></p><p>I'll take my dignity to Target and spend 32¢ more. Their automated checkout lines are amazing. Microsoft, don't be too keen to tie your name too tightly to Walmart.</p>

    • Jeffsters

      18 July, 2018 - 9:05 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#293548"><em>In reply to bluvg:</em></a><em>never have an issue and like the new version they rolled out recently where you can just start scanning. Easy in and out!</em></blockquote><p><br></p>

      • bluvg

        18 July, 2018 - 11:03 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#293549"><em>In reply to Jeffsters:</em></a></blockquote><p>I wish that were the case at the store in my neighborhood. The automated checkout lines seemed designed to aggravate. But even if they worked, the tissue-thin plastic bags are still worthless. Why even bother offering them if the droop between the handles sags so low that stuff inevitably tilts, stretches, and if you're not super careful, breaks the bag (if something hasn't poked through elsewhere already). I refuse to support price-cutting-at-all-costs at the expense of sanity, quality, and common sense (especially when the price difference is negligible).</p>

  • Jeffsters

    18 July, 2018 - 9:08 pm

    <p>”Enemy of my enemy is my friend”</p>

  • SoundersFan

    Premium Member
    19 July, 2018 - 7:53 pm

    <p>Dude, this sentence is hard to read.. The antecedent of "its", "it" and "the firm's" is really difficult to figure out. I think "its" reefer's to Microsoft's and "it" refers to Walmart. "The firm's" I think refers to Amazon or Walmart. Not sure.</p><p><br></p><p><em style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">For Microsoft, Walmart using its cloud-services will give it a jumpstart Amazon’s cloud services, which continues to be the firm’s biggest rival.</em></p>

  • lestein

    28 December, 2018 - 5:54 am

    <p>Walmart offering excellent services. Now one make use of <a href="; target="_blank">WalmartOne</a> to get all the services.</p>


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