Bolstering a relationship between two Amazon rivals, Walmart has reportedly inked a deal with Microsoft to leverage the tech company’s cloud capabilities. The idea is to make the shopping experience easier and faster for consumers, CNBC reported.
In a statement on Tuesday (July 17), Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said, “Walmart’s commitment to technology is centered around creating incredibly convenient ways for customers to shop and empowering associates to do their best work.”
With the partnership, engineers from both Microsoft and Walmart will collaborate in order to bring a large portion of Samsclub.com and Walmart.com to Microsoft Azure. And, on Tuesday (July 17), Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella remarked that “the world’s leading companies run on our cloud, and I’m thrilled to partner with Walmart to accelerate their digital transformation with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365.”
The news comes as Britain’s Marks & Spencer Group (M&S) is collaborating with Microsoft. Through their strategic partnership, the companies will experiment with the integration of Microsoft AI technologies into M&S stores, as well as the retailer’s broader operations, retail news source Chain Store Age reported.
“We want to be at the forefront of driving value into the customer experience using the power of technology,” Marks & Spencer CEO Steve Rowe has said in a statement. “Working together with Microsoft to understand the full potential of how technology and artificial intelligence can improve the in-store experience for our customers and the efficiencies of our wider operations could be a game-changer for M&S — and for retail.”
With the partnership, Microsoft’s product personnel and AI engineers will work with the retail labs team at M&S. The move came as the retailer unveiled a plan in November to become a “digital-first” business and as Microsoft is working on self-checkout technology. According to a report in Reuters citing six people familiar with the matter, Microsoft’s Business AI team is working on cashierless technology that would track items placed in a shopping cart.