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.