Two major American companies join forces to try to beat the omnipresent threat of Amazon: Walmart (Amazon's biggest competitor in retail) and Microsoft (Amazon's main rival in cloud services) have signed a strategic partnership for the next five years.
The world's largest retail chain has been investing in e-commerce for a while now, in order to respond to Amazon's expansion. Now the Arkansas-based company is going to shift its webshops walmart.com and samsclub.com to Microsoft's Azure platform: that should make shopping faster and easier for consumers. The retailer also wants to use Microsoft's artificial intelligence and machine learning to collect and process sales data, an area where Amazon has quite an advantage. Moreover, both partners are going to build a worldwide Internet of Things platform in order to reduce energy usage in Walmart's stores and to make the routes of thousands of trucks in the supply chain more efficient.
It may also be possible that Walmart can help Microsoft with a new Amazon Go-like store concept, in which cameras and sensors would notice what customers put into their shopping cart. Checkout would be done automatically, rendering cashiers useless.