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Reliance-Microsoft alliance to take on Amazon cloud biz in India

The 42nd annual general meeting of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) led by Chairman Mukesh Ambani speech came out with a series of announcements.

Right from the mention of its telecom service Reliance Jio unprecedented success as number one platform with 340 million user base to launch date of its wired broadband service Jio Gigafiber and plan for next-generation technology, it has almost everything covered for consumers.

And just when many thought this would be it for the meet. Mukesh Ambani announced a partnership with Microsoft cloud platform Azure.

Both the companies will partner to launch new cloud data centres in India. Jio and Microsoft, as part of the long term alliance, will work to enhance the adoption of leading technologies like data analytics, AI, cognitive services, blockchain, Internet of Things, and cloud computing for SMEs and startups.

“Together we will offer comprehensive technology from computing to store to connectivity and productivity for small and medium-sized businesses everywhere in the country. It will ensure that more of Jio’s customers can use tools and platforms they need to build their own digital capability,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, in a video message.

With this announcement, SMEs in the country will have access to a range of cloud-based productivity, collaboration and business applications including Office 365, enabling them to compete more effectively.

The alliance also promised to accelerate innovation to create more affordable offerings for Indian SMBs and startups, including a new range of solutions for one-stop IT capabilities and allowing front-end applications on mobile devices, desktops and other tools.

For budding startups, connectivity and cloud infrastructure would be absolutely free, added Ambani. He further announced that Jio will provide free cloud services for startups for as little as 1,500 rupees a month.

These services will be available from January 1, 2020.

Jio, with competitive pricing and reach, will likely to eat up Amazon Web Services, Alicloud and Google market share in the country.

Besides migrating and promoting its non-network app on Azure, Jio and Microsoft will also work together on integrating speech and computer vision solutions in local languages. The move would bolster Reliance e-commerce foray that will focus on bringing sellers online.

The partnership will directly impact Amazon’s AWS growth in India, which recorded over a 3X revenue jump in FY18, as compared to FY17. In FY18, Amazon’s cloud services subsidiary had declared a profitable fiscal year with Rs 1,206 crore revenue from mere Rs 397 crore in 2017.

Cloud business will also complete the missing piece for Reliance e-commerce ecosystem that includes payments (via pos), sourcing, and strong distribution.

The development comes at a time when Jeff Bezos-led e-commerce marketplace, impressed with Reliance Retail’s market position, reported to hold initial talks with the retail chain to acquire 26% stake.

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