Walmart moves to Microsoft's cloud

Walmart knows that its biggest rival is Amazon, so to better compete with the company run by the world's richest person, Walmart is teaming up with Microsoft.

Today, Walmart announced that it has established a strategic partnership with Microsoft to, "further accelerate Walmart's digital transformation in retail, empower its associates worldwide and make shopping faster and easier for millions of customers around the world." What that means in reality is, Walmart is embracing Microsoft's cloud services and will run its digital operations by taking full advantage of Microsoft Azure and Office 365.

The partnership agreement lasts for five years and starts with a team of Walmart and Microsoft engineers working together to transition the retailer to Microsoft's ecosystem. Walmart has hundreds of existing applications that need to be transitioned to Azure, so this team will have its hands full.

If you're wondering just how deep this partnership goes, Walmart is committed to building an entire Internet-of-Things operation running on Azure, which will cover everything from managing the refrigeration units in thousands of stores to using machine learning to improve the company's entire supply chain. Microsoft will be ensuring it all goes as smoothly as possible in a bid to extend the partnership well beyond the first five years.

More From PCmag

One area where Amazon currently has a big head start over Walmart is in automated grocery stores and the Amazon Go retail presence, which is only set to grow. Microsoft does have a solution though, having already started work on its own automated store software and hardware solution. This surely helped Walmart make the decision to sign up with Microsoft for the long term.

This article originally appeared on