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Microsoft and Jio sign 10-year partnership with sights set on India

Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio), subsidiary of Reliance Industries, and Microsoft have entered into a long term strategic partnership to help boost digital transformation in India.

The pair have committed to a 10 year partnership that will see different capabilities of both companies combine to offer a set of solutions encompassing connectivity, computing, storage solutions, and other technology services and applications.

These solutions will be designed for Indian businesses and will span the Reliance Industries ecosystem including its existing and new businesses, according to a statement.

In combining efforts, Jio and Microsoft aim to better enable companies to adopt technologies such as data analytics, AI, cognitive services, blockchain, Internet of Things, and edge computing.

The duo hope to enable adoption among small and medium enterprises to make them ready to compete and grow, therefore accelerating technology-led GDP growth in India and driving adoption of next-gen technology solutions at scale.

As part of this new agreement:

  • Jio will provide its internal workforce with cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools available with Microsoft 365 and will migrate its non-network applications to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.
  • Jio's connectivity infrastructure will promote the adoption of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform within its ecosystem of startups, as part of Jio's cloud-first strategy.
  • Jio will set up data centres in locations across India, consisting of next-generation compute, storage and networking capabilities, and Microsoft will deploy its Azure platform in these datacenters to support Jio's offerings. The initial two data centres, which can house IT equipment consuming up to 7.5 MW of power, are being set up in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. These are targeted to be fully operational in calendar year 2020.
  • Jio will leverage the Microsoft Azure cloud platform to develop cloud solutions focused on the needs of Indian businesses. Through these Jio-developed solutions:
    > Indian startups will have access to efficient and affordable cloud infrastructure and platform services, enabling them to better develop products and services.
    > Small and medium businesses in India will have access to a range of cloud-based productivity, collaboration and business applications including Office 365.
    > Large companies will be able to accelerate their own digital transformations by leveraging new Jio solutions that can work with Microsoft offerings already in use today within enterprises.
    > The partner ecosystem in India will have the opportunity to leverage Jio's new offerings to serve customers and their businesses.
  • Jio will be executing on its vision of integrated speech and computer vision solutions for Indian customers by working together with Microsoft to develop solutions that support major Indian languages and dialects.

Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani says, “Jio is delighted to partner with Microsoft in our efforts to further deepen the use of technology on scale to all Indians.”

He says, “This is a unique and first-of-its-kind partnership that brings the capabilities of two large companies focused on creating significant value to Indian enterprises small and large.

“By working together to develop innovative and affordable cloud-enabled digital solutions built around Jio's world-class digital infrastructure and Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, we will accelerate the digitisation of the Indian economy and make Indian businesses globally competitive. This will be a showcase to the world to demonstrate tech-enabled value creation that is both exponential and inclusive.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says, “We have an incredible opportunity to apply advances in technology to help organisations across India innovate and grow.”

“The combination of Jio's leading connectivity and digital solutions with Azure, Azure AI and Office 365 will bring powerful tools and platforms for compute, storage, productivity and more to millions of businesses in the country,” he says.

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