Log in
Forgot password ?
Become a member for free
Sign up
Sign up
Dynamic quotes 

MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  Nasdaq  >  Amazon.com    AMZN

My previous session
Most popular
News SummaryMost relevantAll newsOfficial PublicationsSector newsTweetsMarketScreener Strategies

Exclusive: Microsoft takes aim at Amazon with push for checkout-free retail

share with twitter share with LinkedIn share with facebook
share via e-mail
06/14/2018 | 10:34pm CET
FILE PHOTO:    A customer selects an Amazon Go-branded Theo chocolate bar in the new Amazon Go store in Seattle

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp is working on technology that would eliminate cashiers and checkout lines from stores, in a nascent challenge to Amazon.com Inc's automated grocery shop, six people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant is developing systems that track what shoppers add to their carts, the people say. Microsoft has shown sample technology to retailers from around the world and has had talks with Walmart Inc about a potential collaboration, three of the people said.

Microsoft's technology aims to help retailers keep pace with Amazon Go, a highly automated store that opened to the public in Seattle in January. Amazon customers scan their smartphones at a turnstile to enter. Cameras and sensors identify what they remove from the shelves. When customers are finished shopping, they simply leave the store and Amazon bills their credit cards on file.

Amazon Go, which will soon open in Chicago and San Francisco, has sent rivals scrambling to prepare for yet another disruption by the world's biggest online retailer. Some have tested programs where customers scan and bag each item as they shop, with mixed results.

For Microsoft, becoming a strategic ally to retailers has meant big business. In addition to developing retail technologies, it ranks No. 2 behind Amazon in selling cloud services that are key to running e-commerce sites, for instance.

It is not clear how soon Microsoft would bring an automated checkout service to market, if at all, or whether its technology would be the answer retailers are looking for. But some see the technology as the next big innovation in shopping, one that Amazon's competitors cannot afford to ignore.

"This is the future of checking out for convenience and grocery stores," said Gene Munster, head of research at Loup Ventures in Minneapolis. The venture capital firm estimates the U.S. market for automated checkout is worth $50 billion. Cashier is one of the most commonly held jobs in the United States.

Microsoft said it "does not comment on rumors or speculation." Walmart and Amazon declined to comment.


Microsoft's effort to date has largely fallen under its Business AI, or artificial intelligence, team, one person said. A group consisting of 10 to 15 people has worked on a host of retail store technologies, and they have presented some of their efforts in front of CEO Satya Nadella, the person said.

In a meeting with the team several months ago, Nadella recommended an "intelligent edge" device that could manage connected gadgets such as cameras on site with minimum data transfers to the cloud, which would cut down on costs, said the person.

Making its technology cheap enough so it does not eviscerate grocers' already thin profit margins is a major challenge for Microsoft, another person said.

Microsoft already showcases the basics for automated checkout at its Retail Experience Center in Redmond.

It has half a dozen partners, including Redmond-based AVA Retail, that are building their own checkout-free or related services atop Microsoft's cloud, some of the people said. Sales of partners' services result in cloud revenue for Microsoft, along with insight into the market for new retail technologies.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's internal team, including a computer vision specialist hired from Amazon Go, has worked on attaching cameras to shopping carts to track customers' items. And it has studied novel ways for smartphones to play a role in the shopping experience, people said.

Still, the industry is playing catch-up to Amazon.

The company spent four years building Amazon Go in secret, before launching an employee-only pilot on its Seattle campus in 2016. It collected data for nearly 14 months more before opening the doors to its first Seattle store. Amazon has said it has no plans to introduce checkout-free technology to its Whole Foods Market grocery chain, which it acquired last year.

The company is still hard at work improving the service. Amazon Vice President Dilip Kumar told Reuters in an interview earlier this year that the company is training computers to identify items or activities with as little information as possible.

"It's a really hard problem," said Scott Jacobson, managing director of Madrona Venture Group, adding it's "one that Amazon is uniquely positioned to solve."

(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Salvador Rodriguez and Nandita Bose; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Marla Dickerson)

By Jeffrey Dastin and Stephen Nellis

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AMAZON.COM -1.11% 1495.46 Delayed Quote.29.31%
MICROSOFT CORPORATION -2.78% 101.71 Delayed Quote.22.31%
WAL-MART STORES -2.71% 94.16 Delayed Quote.-1.99%
share with twitter share with LinkedIn share with facebook
share via e-mail
Latest news on AMAZON.COM
02:44aRising Sales Give Retailers Hope Ahead of Holiday Season -- 3rd Update
01:40aColes Begins Trading in Largest Australian Spin Off on Record
12:17aFACEBOOK : Instacart hires Instagram manager to boost growth
11/20AMAZON COM : HQ2s Could Pressure Seattle's Office Market
11/20Amazon, Blackstone among bidders for 22 Disney sports networks - CNBC
11/20AMAZON COM : Pac-12 Conference Goes All-In on Amazon Web Services
11/20AMAZON COM : As Amazon Plants HQ2 Flags, Seattle's Housing Market Shudders
11/20AMAZON COM : Nashville's Runner-Up Prize From Amazon Looks Like a Winner to Prop..
11/20AMAZON COM : Primed to Boost Property Prices in Winning HQ2 Cities
11/20AMAZON COM : Employees Join the Rush to Buy Long Island City Condos
More news
News from SeekingAlpha
11/20WAYFAIR : Black Friday Blowout 
11/20Amazon Alexa's Bluetooth SDK now widely available 
11/20Amazon's Correction Spells Long-Term Opportunity 
11/20AMAZON VALUATION PART 3 : Discount Rates And My Final Valuation 
11/20New Leadership At Google Cloud Makes Alphabet An Even Better Cloud Bet Vs IBM.. 
Financials ($)
Sales 2018 232 B
EBIT 2018 12 296 M
Net income 2018 9 986 M
Finance 2018 11 325 M
Yield 2018 -
P/E ratio 2018 81,45
P/E ratio 2019 60,20
EV / Sales 2018 3,30x
EV / Sales 2019 2,68x
Capitalization 779 B
Duration : Period :
Amazon.com Technical Analysis Chart | MarketScreener
Full-screen chart
Technical analysis trends AMAZON.COM
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 48
Average target price 2 107 $
Spread / Average Target 32%
EPS Revisions
Jeffrey P. Bezos Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer
Brian T. Olsavsky Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President
Patricia Q. Stonesifer Independent Director
Tom A. Alberg Independent Director
Thomas O. Ryder Lead Independent Director
Sector and Competitors
1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
AMAZON.COM29.31%779 128
WAYFAIR INC2.90%7 931
ZOZO INC-36.19%6 352
MONOTARO CO.,LTD.-27.96%6 026
ETSY INC122.25%5 693