Microsoft Extends Walmart Partnership Into Machine Learning, AI

Walmart and Microsoft have extended an existing partnership with a five-year agreement that will enable the two companies to collaborate on machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data platform solutions for a range of customer-facing services and internal business applications.

This could mean teaming up on everything from Bing search ads to no-scan checkouts and predictive ordering to blockchain ledgers with help from Microsoft’s partnership with EY.

"Walmart’s commitment to technology is centered [on] creating incredibly convenient ways for customers to shop and empowering associates to do their best work," said Doug McMillon, Walmart CEO, in a prepared statement. “Walmart is a people-led, tech-empowered company, and we’re excited about what this technology partnership will bring for our customers and associates.” 

Microsoft will help Walmart learn more about its customers, although the retailer is pretty savvy when it comes to technology. The extended partnership will also allow Walmart to outsource some of the technology development.



Walmart was the first to take on radio frequency identification technology for tracking shipments through its distribution supply chain.

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

Walmart plans to migrate a significant portion of and to Azure, including its cloud-powered checkout -- which will enable Walmart to grow with rising customer demand and reach more global markets than ever before, according to the press release.

The expanded relationship will change the way Walmart works as well as the ways that its employees and management think about technology. Walmart will roll out in phases the Microsoft 365 suite of tools to provide employees with the tools to foster collaboration, creativity and communication.

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