Walmart signs deal to use Microsoft cloud servicesBy RACHEL LERMAN
The Seattle Times
July 22. 2018 11:46PM
Walmart and Microsoft have signed a broad five-year cloud-computing deal as both companies try to find a way around Amazon in the race to the top.
Walmart will use Azure, Microsoft’s cloud-computing system, and Microsoft 365, the Redmond company’s suite of office software on the cloud, to run the retailer’s internal operations, power its website and analyze shopping data.
Azure is the second-largest cloud-computing platform in the world, behind Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is the market leader by a wide margin. Walmart has similarly been looking for ways to compete with the massive e-commerce company as it continues to grow.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told The Wall Street Journal that the companies’ competition with Amazon “is absolutely core to this.”
Other big retailers that are rivals with Amazon, like Target and Kroger, are also said to be avoiding AWS. But then there are some like Seattle-based zulily that are signing up for Amazon’s cloud.
As part of its Microsoft deal, Walmart will put “a significant portion” of its flagship website and the Sam’s Club website on Azure, the companies said.
Walmart was already using Azure in parts of its business, and this will expand it to most corners of the company.
Azure has become the backbone of growth for Microsoft in recent years, and sales from the service have been steadily increasing. They were up more than 93 percent in the third quarter. Microsoft recently reorganized its corporate structure to focus more on cloud technology.
AWS signed its own high-profile customer Tuesday, announcing Major League Baseball would use its cloud computing services.