Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Xiaomi have announced a partnership which will see the two tech firms deepen an established relationship in the areas of personal computer hardware, artificial intelligence and cloud computing. In a memorandum of understanding, the two firms have also pledged to evaluate avenues of collaboration in the future.
Microsoft stands to benefit from the relationship since Xiaomi is growing fast and has a strong presence in its domestic market of China. Some of the products of Microsoft that could benefit from an increased market share following this partnership include the Cortana virtual assistant and Azure cloud platform. Xiaomi is also seeking to grow outside China and the relationship with Microsoft could prove to be instrumental.
In a statement Xiaomi indicated that the Azure cloud platform was being evaluated by the Chinese device maker with a view to potentially using it to reach customers across the globe. At the moment Xiaomi uses the cloud computing regions of Microsoft in China in powering the Mi Cloud service. The Azure platform is operated by Microsoft in China as a joint venture with a local partner since it is a requirement under Chinese laws. With regards to artificial intelligence the two firms are collaborating on projects which make use of the AI capabilities of Microsoft. This includes natural language APIs and computer vision.
Xiaomi also intends to integrate into its Mi AI speaker the digital assistant of Microsoft, Cortana. Though the smart speaker of Xiaomi supports commands spoken in English, it’s performance is below par. Cortana already speaks Chinese and therefore integrating it with the smart speaker of Xiaomi will widen its reach. Additionally having Cortana on board will assist Xiaomi in competing with Chinese online search engine giant Baidu which is aiming to conquer the Chinese market its DuerOS digital assistant.
The two tech firms will also cooperate with regards to laptops and similar devices especially those that are aimed at the global market. This will see the two firms conduct joint product development, channel support and marketing in Xiaomi’s efforts to roll out new hardware products.
In an earlier deal two years ago Xiaomi pre-installed some of Microsoft products on its smartphones and this include Skype messaging application and Office software.