Microsoft, Albertsons ink Azure partnership

January 24 2019

Microsoft signed a three-year agreement with Albertsons to use Azure for the company's public cloud needs. The announcement comes on the heels of a seven year Azure deal with Walgreens Boots Alliance and updated partnerships with Kroger and LG Electronics. The news, reported by CNBC, adds to a growing trend of leading retailers opting for Azure as Amazon increasingly challenges many market segments like pharmacies and grocery stores through its subsidiaries PillPack and Whole Foods Market.

Albertsons is deploying more operations on Azure, growing its existing subscription and switching employees to Microsoft 365 product bundle. In addition, the chain, which also owns Vons and Safeway, is set to adopt Microsoft AI capabilities, in a bid to move toward cashierless checkout akin to what Amazon is now offering. Initially, cashierless pre-ordering and pickup is intended for the company's Plated and other prepared food offerings. For now, Albertsons will retain some of its own data center infrastructure and on-premises equipment in case of a loss of network connectivity.

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