Software maker Microsoft and Chinese device manufacturer Xiaomi have signed a deal which will see the two tech companies partner on hardware services, cloud computing and artificial intelligence. The strategic framework memorandum of understanding that the two signed will allow the two firms to collaborate and integrate more closely as they explore ways of driving deeper technology cooperation.
To assist in accelerating the international growth of Xiaomi the artificial intelligence and cloud computing technology of Microsoft will be integrated into the smart and mobile devices of the Chinese company. Some of the proposed collaborative projects include having Microsoft’s Cortana technology integrated into Xiaomi’s Mi AI speaker.
The cloud computing platform of Microsoft, Azure, will also support the user data storage of Xiaomi with regards to mobile devices including laptops.
“By collaborating with Microsoft on multiple technology areas, Xiaomi will accelerate our pace to bring more exciting products and services to our users. At the same time, this partnership would allow Microsoft to reach more users around the world,” said Wang Xiang, Xiaomi’s global SVP and international business head.
The two companies have made similar deals before. Three years ago Microsoft Azure was adopted by Xiaomi in running the Mi cloud Service while in 2016 Xiaomi started pre-installing Microsoft products such as Office software on its smartphones and tablets running on Android operating system. According to market research firm IDC, Xiaomi is currently the fifth most popular handset firm having shipped 92.4 million smartphones last year.
The deal between Microsoft and Xiaomi comes in the wake of a case in the U.S. Supreme Court pitting Microsoft against the U.S. government in which the software maker is fighting against being forced to turn over emails to federal investigators since they are kept outside the country in a facility located in Dublin, Ireland. Earlier an appeals court had concurred with the largest software company in the world that the warrant did not apply to the emails since they were not stored in the U.S.
According to the president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, there is need for customers spread across the globe to have confidence in the technology sector. Smith added that he had been warned by a German official that the software company as well as other U.S. tech giants were at risk of losing foreign customers if they couldn’t provide guarantees to these clients that their data was protected from the government of the United States. IBM, Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon are among other tech firms backing Microsoft.