Cleaning up: Customers queue outside a Walmart store in Port Arthur, Texas. Picture: REUTERS
Cleaning up: Customers queue outside a Walmart store in Port Arthur, Texas. Picture: REUTERS

Bengaluru — Retail giant Walmart said on Tuesday that it entered into a strategic partnership with Microsoft for wider use of cloud and artificial intelligence technology, in a sign of major rivals of Amazon.com coming together.

The five-year agreement would leverage the full range of Microsoft’s cloud solutions, including Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365, to make shopping faster and easier for customers, the Bentonville Arkansas-based company said.

As part of the partnership, Walmart and Microsoft engineers would collaborate to migrate a significant portion of walmart.com and samsclub.com to Azure, Walmart said.

While Walmart is doubling down on its e-commerce presence to better compete with Amazon, Microsoft has been working on a technology that would eliminate cashiers and checkout lines from stores, Reuters reported in June.

Microsoft’s technology aims to help retailers keep pace with Amazon Go, the e-commerce giant’s highly automated store format.

The Windows software maker had also shown the sample technology to retailers from around the world and had had talks with Walmart about a potential collaboration, Reuters reported.

Through the partnership, Walmart plans to defend itself from Amazon’s retail ambitions and expertise in data, and boost its online presence.

Reuters