Flipkart, Microsoft announce strategic cloud partnership

Bengaluru: Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced a strategic partnership with Flipkart under which, for a start, the online retailer will adopt Microsoft Azure as its exclusive public cloud computing platform.

One person familiar with the matter said Microsoft may pick up a small stake in Flipkart as part of the partnership, although no deal to that effect has been signed yet. Mint couldn’t confirm if Microsoft will be one of the investors in Flipkart’s next funding round.

“As a policy, we do not comment on market speculations” Flipkart said in response to Mint’s queries on its latest efforts at fund-raising.

On the strategic alliance with Microsoft, Flipkart declined to confirm whether Microsoft was investing in the company. “We have no plans to share in that regard,” a Flipkart spokesperson said.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Flipkart group CEO Binny Bansal announced the partnership at an event in Bengaluru.

“We are launching our strategic partnership together. I have always been an admirer of what Flipkart has done, in not only starting e-commerce, but now in payments and logistics,” said Nadella.

“It is really getting India on the map... I’m pleased to announce that Flipkart has chosen Microsoft Azure as its exclusive public cloud platform. Of course this is just a start, because ultimately for us as well it is all about being able to support entrepreneurs of India to be able to create global-scale businesses, and when we think about our mission that’s at the centre of it,” he added.

Starting with computing infrastructure, Microsoft Azure will ultimately add a layer of advanced cloud technologies and analytics to Flipkart’s existing data centres. Microsoft’s strong presence in India, along with its global scale, allows for continued growth and expansion, setting the stage for the long-term partnership, said Microsoft.

“This partnership allows us to leverage our combined strength and knowledge of technology, e-commerce and markets to make online shopping more relevant and enriching for customers,” Bansal said.

He said Flipkart, in its tenth year of operations, had taken e-commerce to about 50 million customers and the question now was how to take this to 500 million people in the next 10 years.

Microsoft said Flipkart plans to leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics capabilities on Azure—such as the Cortana Intelligence Suite and Power BI—to optimize its data for innovative merchandising, advertising, marketing and customer service.

PTI contributed to this story.

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