However, this doesn't mean they've stopped competing with each other. Microsoft is reportedly laying the groundwork for cashier-free retail stores, which would mean it's taking on Amazon Go.
The company has been in discussion with Walmart about potentially using the tech, which aims to rival's Amazon's own hassle-free grocery platform.
How Amazon Go Works
Amazon launched the first Go store in its Seattle hometown last year. They look like any typical convenience store or retail chain, except customers come in, grab items, and then just leave. The store has special cameras and sensors built in to accurately track which items are being taken out. When they leave, all purchases are charged to the customer's credit card on file.
While largely an experiment, Amazon appears to be serious with its cashier-less initiative. Go stores are coming to Chicago and San Francisco soon, although, it's not yet revealed when exactly will be the opening.
Here's What Microsoft Is Doing To Overtake Amazon Go
According to Reuters, Microsoft poached a computer vision specialist from Amazon Go. Not only is the company presently experimenting with integrating cameras into shopping carts to track purchases, it's also already developing cloud-powered automated checkouts with retail partners.
From the looks of it, Microsoft's cashier-less retail project is still in its early stages. However, there's no question that the company has the platforms and services, not to mention, the people necessary to turn an experiment like this into a reality.
Powered By Kinect?
It's not clear what technology Microsoft is using to power its sensors, but it could be somewhat associated with the company's Project Kinect for Azure, The Verge speculates. Last month, the company unveiled its fourth-generation Kinect sensor designed to map depth and human objects in the spatial context.
It is yet unknown how soon Microsoft would bring cashier-less retail stores to market, or whether its technology is on par, if not better, than Amazon's own solution. Again, both projects seem largely experimental at this point, but a number of pundits argue that it's the next big innovation in retail, one that Amazon's competitors simply can't ignore.
Do you think cashier-less stores are here to stay, or is this kind of technology just another ill-fated gimmick? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off the comments section below!