Only a decade or so ago, it would have been straight science fiction to claim that it would be possible to buy anything and everything from the internet. These days such a notion is getting closer to being science fact, courtesy of the mighty strides of the gigantic online marketplace platform Amazon. From its original purpose of selling books over the internet, the brainchild of Jeff Bezos has become so ubiquitous in market transactions that real-world businesses feel threatened by it. Two such companies in that regard are Wal-Mart and Microsoft, and they are partnering to do something about it.
According to The Verge, Microsoft and Wal-Mart are forming a strategic team-up to take on Amazon as a united front. Their tandem will seek to compete with the online market juggernaut on the two fronts that it has been giving them trouble. The iconic retail chain Wal-Mart, naturally was among those brick-and-mortar businesses that have been adversely affected by Amazon’s conceit of having everything available to buy online. Amazon also boasts a formidable cloud service, and that is something that has been bothering Microsoft and its own cloud. A strategic alliance between Microsoft and Wal-Mart might be just the thing to halt Amazon’s business “rampage”.
To go into detail about the Microsoft-Wal-Mart “alliance”, as expounded on by Wal-Mart during the Microsoft Inspire partners’ conference on Tuesday, July 17, this entails Wal-Mart adapting Microsoft’s Office 365 suite and Azure cloud computing service, plus other developments on artificial intelligence, data platform and machine learning. The agreement will be implemented for five years.
During an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noted that the core to their company’s partnership with Wal-Mart is the domains of retail and cloud services. “How do we get more leverage as two organizations that have depth and breadth and investment to be able to outrun our respective competition,” he said. News of the partnership also came in the wake of percolating reports that Microsoft was working on their own cashier-free wireless shopping system to go head to head with the Amazon Go stores, which garnered attention because of buyers being able to just pick an item from a store shelf and walk out while their purchase is calculated on Amazon Go apps in their smartphones. The rumor now goes that Microsoft intends to test this tech by having Wal-Mart use it in the future.
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