Azure wins five-year Walmart contract
Hours after Amazon’s retail website appeared to struggle then crash under consumer demand on its much-hyped “Prime Day”, Microsoft announced a new partnership with retail giant Walmart to boost its online retail offering.
Walmart will be able to capitalise on the “depth and breadth of Microsoft’s compute capacity” the company said, announcing the five-year contract, in what may or may not have been a gently dig at Amazon’s AWS.
Goldman says Azure Catching AWS
The announcement comes days after a survey by global investment bank Goldman Sachs suggested that Microsoft Azure is gaining ground on Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a favoured cloud provider.
The results are based on a June survey of 100 CIOs at listed companies across a range of industries, most with annual revenue of more than $1 billion.
When asked which services they expect to be using three years from now, AWS and Azure were tied, at 49 percent.
When Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) was combined with Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), 77 percent said they were using Azure, compared to 72 percent for AWS.
While AWS remains the top cloud service for IaaS deployments alone, “Microsoft Azure has the potential to reach a similar workload penetration to AWS over the next three years, with the same number of CIOs indicating that they plan to leverage both platforms,” said Goldman’s analysts, as cited by the Wall Street Journal.
Prime Day Crash
The findings come as Amazon.com’s retail website appeared to crash Monday at the start of its much-flagged “Prime Day” summer sale, with links leading to a 404 error.
The error was the second consecutive year in which Amazon has briefly suffered an outage. The company tweeted: “Some customers are having difficulty shopping and we’re working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”
— Amazon.com (@amazon) July 16, 2018
Can Walmart Compete with Amazon?
Walmart meanwhile hopes to step up its online retail offering.
It is already using Microsoft services for critical applications and workloads and is “now embarking on a broad set of cloud innovation projects that leverage Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and data platform solutions for a wide range of external customer-facing services and internal business applications”, the company said.
the partnership will “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,” Walmart added in a post Tuesday.
Doug McMillon, Walmart CEO, said: “We’re excited about what this technology partnership will bring for our customers and associates. Whether it’s combined with our agile cloud platform or leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence to work smarter, we believe Microsoft will be a strong partner in driving our ability to innovate even further and faster.”