Tech

Microsoft could power Walmart’s Amazon Go rival

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The race is on.

Microsoft is building automated, cashier-less, and checkout line-free technology to rival Amazon Go, Reuters reported Thursday. And Microsoft is reportedly in talks about the technology with Walmart, Amazon’s rival for all-out retail domination.

The technology would allow shoppers to buy goods from a store without checking out or exchanging any cash. Upon entering a store with Microsoft technology, shoppers would scan their smart phones. Then sensors would detect when items are removed from the shelves, and cameras could see what items are in shoppers’ carts. Shoppers would then simply walk out of the store, at which point their accounts would be charged.

Microsoft is reportedly meeting with retailers around the world about implementing the technology, including Walmart. An alliance between Microsoft and Walmart for cloud-based shopping tech could help Walmart compete with Amazon, with which it’s been in an arms race in retail and grocery sales.

Indeed, Microsoft’s system, as described by Reuters’ sources, sounds nearly identical to the tech employed in Amazon Go stores. Amazon debuted its first Amazon Go store in Seattle in January 2018. It plans to open more stores, starting with locations in San Francisco and Chicago. And in February, it was rumored that Amazon would open six more Amazon Go locations.

But as we’ve seen in social media, copying isn’t just the most sincere form of flattery — it’s also a pathway to success.

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