Sunday, 26 May, 2019

Microsoft announces strategic investment in Singapore's Grab

Under the five-year deal the companies will collaborate on technologies including big data artificial intelligence and connected car platforms Microsoft invests in Grab as ride hailer adopts Azure platform
Cecil Davis | 11 October, 2018, 09:54

GrabTaxi at Tech in Asia Singapore 2015.

The cloud has been critical to Grab's ability to scale and manage its operations, having been using Amazon Web Services' Redshift and ElastiCache services to analyse data and data streams in real time, so it can point drivers to locations with higher demand for rides.

Grab's fundraising comes at a time when San Francisco-based Uber has been beset by complaints about its workplace culture, a federal inquiry into software to help drivers avoid police, and an intellectual property lawsuit by Waymo, the self-driving vehicle unit of parent Alphabet Inc.

Both Grab and Microsoft are in fierce competition for market share financial investors should question how this pressure is. The two companies will collaborate on services such as big data and artificial intelligence, and Grab will be able use Microsoft's Azure cloud computing service to improve its capabilities. "It's been awesome to watch what they have done with technology, in the way that they've applied it to solving problems for their customers".

Microsoft and Grab keep mum on the agreed price.

The companies did not reveal the sum of the deal.

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Grab, who beat out rival Uber earlier this year in the region, has been seeking investments of $3 billion by the year-end, and has already raised $2 billion, according to a Reuters report. The company also has an $11 billion valuation. Yet, this remains to be seen, with Grab's latest round for funding set in a few weeks. They declined to specify the size of the investment.

Grab has the backing of several big companies, including Toyota, SoftBank and fellow ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing.

Microsoft has announced it will invest in Grab as part of its collaboration with the South East Asian ride-sharing platform.

Microsoft will also work with Grab on software projects like facial recognition that help drivers and passengers recognise each other and real-time translation services. "Tapping into the power of Microsoft's intelligent cloud and AI capabilities, the companies will engage on a number of innovation technology projects to transform the experience for customers".

Microsoft Azure's machine learning and AI capabilities will also be used to power Grab's recommendation engine that analyses user data and behaviour to provide personalised services and content recommendations through the Grab app.