Microsoft scored a major deal with Flipkart this week, with the top online marketplace in India agreeing to adopt Microsoft Azure as its exclusive public cloud platform.
It’s a significant win for Microsoft in the public cloud battle against Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform and others. And Amazon has become a direct competitor with Flipkart, as the former increases its eCommerce business in India. In fact, Amazon has announced it will spend $5 billion to build its business in India, and it opened a new AWS region in Mumbai last year.
GeekWire reported that this deal is a first step in what the companies are calling a broader strategic partnership. Microsoft and Flipkart said they will start with computing infrastructure and “ultimately add a layer of advanced cloud technologies and analytics to Flipkart’s existing data centers.”
Microsoft already has three existing Azure regions in the country. Describing the Flipkart partnership, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who is from Hyderabad, India, said in a statement: “Combining Microsoft’s cloud platform and AI capabilities with Flipkart’s existing services and data assets will enable Flipkart to accelerate its digital transformation in eCommerce and deliver new customer experiences.”
Flipkart moved its data centers in-house a few years ago, and it was believed to be considering offering cloud services to third parties in the same way that Microsoft and Amazon do with their public cloud platforms. Flipkart Group Cofounder and CEO Binny Bansal said that the partnership with Microsoft “allows us to leverage our combined strength and knowledge of technology, eCommerce and markets to make online shopping more relevant and enriching for customers.”
According to Microsoft, Flipkart also “plans to use the artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics capabilities in Azure, such as Cortana Intelligence Suite and Power BI, to optimize its data for innovative merchandising, advertising, marketing and customer service.”