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Microsoft, Grab Announce Strategic Cloud Partnership

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Grab, on-demand transportation, mobile payments and online-to-offline services platform in Southeast Asia, announced on a strategic partnership that will transform the delivery of digital services and mobility in the region by leveraging Microsoft's expertise in machine learning and other artificial intelligence or AI capabilities. Grab will adopt Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform and Microsoft will make a strategic investment in Grab.

Grab operates in 235 cities across eight Southeast Asian countries, and Grab's digital wallet, GrabPay, is the leading player in Southeast Asia.

Through this partnership, Grab will adopt Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform, tapping into Microsoft's intelligent cloud and AI capabilities to scale Grab's platform efficiently and increase its capacity and capabilities. Through this collaboration the companies will explore a number of innovative deep technology projects that will enhance and transform the Grab experience for Grab's users, driver-partners, merchants and agents.

Grab will work with Microsoft to explore new authentication mechanisms such as mobile facial recognition with built-in AI for drivers and customers who opt in, as a replacement for checking IDs, that help match both driver and passenger identities to the reservation.

Grab will explore utilizing Microsoft Azure's data analytics and fraud detection services to better predict and prevent fraudulent transactions on Grab's platform.

The companies plan to leverage Microsoft's natural language processing capabilities to provide customers with contextualized real-time translations and create an AI chatbot so Grab users can engage in interactive experiences.

Microsoft's machine learning and AI capabilities will be used to power Grab's advanced "recommendation engine" that analyzes user data and behavior to provide personalized services and content recommendations through the Grab application.

Grab also plans to work with Microsoft to explore image recognition and computer vision technologies that will improve the user and driver pickup experience. For example, passengers will be able to take a photo of their current location and have it translated into an actual address for the driver.

To improve map creation and quality, Grab plans to tap into the power of Microsoft's machine learning capabilities.

Grab will provide on-demand transportation booking options to Outlook users so they can seamlessly book rides directly in the application and be alerted with calendar reminders.

Grab will pilot Microsoft's Kaizala, a mobile app and service for large group communications and work management, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Grab's Customer Service teams.

The companies will collaborate on the deployment of in-car entertainment and productivity solutions across Southeast Asia.

Microsoft said it will explore integrating Microsoft Rewards Gift Cards into the Grab Rewards loyalty program.

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