January 29, 2019

Microsoft step up the cloud race with Albertsons partnership

The three-year deal seeks to gain more footprint in the cloud-retail sector and compete against Amazon and the likes.

Weeks after announcing their seven-year deal with retail firm Walgreens, tech giant Microsoft are in the spotlight again with Albertsons alliance. With this three-year partnership, Microsoft say that they will help retail conglomerate Albertsons to manage their workloads on Azure and boost their productivity.

Microsoft say that the dependencies of retailers and grocery chains on cloud services in the U.S. have increased in the last few years. They say that this trend in the retail sector has made it essential for big players to take notice and formulate growth strategies to gain market share.

By partnering with Albertsons, Microsoft claim that they can consolidate their position in the cloud market globally as well as in the US. They further added that they will be providing Albertsons with Azure and 365 bundle services to boost their cloud prowess and productivity.

According to Microsoft, AWS’ acquisition of WholeFoods for USD 13.7 billion in 2017 and their ‘Amazon Go’ convenience stores have put competitors on the back foot. They say that in order to push Microsoft as a preferred public cloud provider in the retail and groceries category, the tech giant said that taking these steps (Walgreens and Albertsons) was necessary.

Microsoft say that apart from leveraging their cloud prowess, Albertsons will also be using the former’s AI and ML capabilities to set up cashier-less systems. They say that this shift in a traditional mindset will allow Albertsons to compete with large retail enterprises that have transformed digitally.

Analysts claim that the Albertsons partnership looks like may be a panic move in response to AWS’ rising dominance in the retail-cloud sector. However, it will be exciting to see whether AWS reacts to this challenge given by Microsoft.