Amazon Go is part of a broader push by Amazon into physical retail, including its acquisition of Whole Foods, its Amazon Books stores, and AmazonFresh Pickup locations.
Microsoft, meanwhile, has also been thinking about building technology that improves how customers shop at a physical store. In 2009 it opened its Retail Experience Center at the company’s Redmond, Wash. headquarters. “The Retail Experience Center features in-store displays of Microsoft consumer products and showcases powerful ways to cut costs, create efficiencies, streamline operations, and promote and sell goods — within the aisles, in the employee break room, at receiving and shipping, at checkout, across the Web, and even at home or on the go,” a press release noted.
Reuters reported that Microsoft is working with six partners that are building cashier-less related technology using the company’s Azure cloud service. The company has also hired a computer vision specialist who worked on Amazon Go.