Reliance-Microsoft cloud tie-up poses threat to Google, Amazon in India

Vastavam web: India’s Reliance Industries Ltd on Monday announced a partnership with Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, in a move that deepens the offerings of its Jio telecoms unit while posing a direct challenge to rival cloud services providers such as Amazon.com and Alphabet’s Google.

As part of the 10-year alliance, Jio will build data centers across India that will be hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud, Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani told shareholders at the company annual shareholders’ meeting.

“We now have the capability to develop truly India-native solutions, including speech recognition and natural language understanding for all major Indian languages and dialects,” said Ambani, Asia’s richest man with a net worth of $46.2 billion according to Forbes.

Ambani disrupted India’s telecoms industry in late 2016 when he launched Jio with free voice and cut-price data plans, pushing some rivals out of business and forcing others to match tariffs and consolidate in a crowded sector that once comprised more than 10 carriers.

“Other cloud players like AWS and Google will have to come up with new, perhaps cheaper pricing models for India,” said Satyajit Sinha, an analyst at tech consultancy Counterpoint.

Ambani has always dubbed Jio a technology company, and used it to launch internet-enabled devices, deliver entertainment services, build fiber broadband and develop other offerings. The Reliance-Microsoft partnership could help Jio extend its services to India’s booming start-up ecosystem.