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Walmart, Microsoft Deepen Partnership To Fight Amazon

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Retail giant Walmart Inc. (WMT) has deepened its strategic partnership with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) by choosing the technology giant as its preferred as well as strategic cloud provider and tap into the full range of Microsoft's cloud solutions.

The five-year agreement, which brings together Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) two major rivals, will enable Walmart to leverage a broad base of cloud, Artificial Intelligence or AI and Internet of Things or IoT solutions for enterprise-wide use. Walmart is Amazon's largest retail rival, while Microsoft is its biggest competitor in cloud computing.

Walmart noted that the partnership with Microsoft will accelerate its digital transformation in retail, empower its associates worldwide, and make shopping faster as well as easier for millions of customers around the world.

Under the agreement, Walmart has selected the full range of Microsoft cloud solutions, including Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 for enterprise-wide use to help standardize across the company's family of brands.

As part of the partnership, Walmart and Microsoft engineers will collaborate on the assessment, development, and support phase of moving hundreds of existing applications to cloud native architectures.

Walmart is already using Microsoft services for critical applications and workloads. The company is now embarking on a broad set of cloud innovation projects that leverage machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data platform solutions for a wide range of external customer-facing services and internal business applications.

Walmart is trying to boost its online presence and fend off Amazon's retail ambitions. In May, Walmart unveiled an entirely redesigned website that features more local and personalized elements as well as specialty shopping experiences. The new website is part of Walmart's broader effort to build an online shopping destination that can better compete with Amazon.

Walmart said in March that its plans to expand its Online Grocery Delivery option to more than 40 percent of U.S. households by the end of the year. The service will be expanded from its current availability in six markets to more than 100 metro areas across the country.

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