While the cloud war is heating up by each passing day with key players like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google battling out to get a bigger piece of the pie, Microsoft with a recent deal might just have had gotten an upper hand.

Yesterday saw world tech giant Microsoft announcing a "strategic partnership” with India's Flipkart that will entail the ecommerce biggie adopting Microsoft’s much-famous Azure cloud platform.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Flipkart group CEO Binny Bansal announced the partnership at an event in Bengaluru. Initially, the collaboration will see Flipkart making use of Microsoft's Azure as its public cloud platform. This will end up serving as a major encouragement for Microsoft in the current battle-like environment building between world cloud players for Indian customers.

Answering the reason behind collaborating with the 2007 born online shopping portal Flipkart, Nadella said that Microsoft as an organisation aims to empower each and every Indian organisation with technology, and the key to making this possible is to forge partnerships with Indian companies like Flipkart.

Flipkart, which is often referred to as Amazon of India intentionally decided to stay away from Amazon's cloud services taking into consideration the tough competition between the two in India's ecommerce segement.

It is worth noting that Amazon opened its first data centre in India last year in June, while Google is expected to do the same by this year. According to experts, opening local server infrastructure in the Indian subcontinent can prove to be extremely beneficial for cloud service providers for several reasons, with the primary one being easy and faster transfer of data for customers based in India. In addition to this, local data centers also help in eliminating the increasing “data sovereignty” concerns, as data stored digitally is subject to the laws of the country in which it is located.

As far as Microsoft is concerned, the tech biggie has been serving the Indian businesses with its local data centers since two years now. Hence, this make it extremely important to note that Flipkart has recently been moving its data centers in-house. But Flipkart is quite optimistic that Azure will end up adding an extra “layer of advanced cloud technologies and analytics” to these data centers, including machine learning smarts and artificial intelligence (AI), which will further end up enabling the Indian ecommerce giant to tap into Cortana Intelligence Suite and Power BI to optimize its data for innovative merchandising, advertising, marketing and customer service.

India with its population of 1.3 billion people, most of whom still aren't online has emerged as an important battleground for major U.S. tech companies aiming to target the “next billion” internet users.

Speaking on the collaboration with Microsoft, Flipkart's Bansal said “Flipkart has always been committed to its vision of transforming commerce in India through technology." He further added, "Given Microsoft’s strong reputation in cloud computing, coupled with scale and reliability, this partnership allows us to leverage our combined strength and knowledge of technology, ecommerce and markets to make online shopping more relevant and enriching for customers.”

The deal is testimonial of the fact that the Indian subcontinent is now ripe for growth, which spells a golden period for both consumer-focused companies as well as the cloud-service partners these companies depend on.

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