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>> Use the Amazon Go app to enter.>> Amazon Go, the small checkout-free store at the company's Seattle Headquarters, opened to the public in January, and has retailers concerned that technology could be an industry disrupter. But Amazon's rivals are not far behind. Half a dozen sources telling Reuters, Microsoft is working on its own checkout-free technology that it could sell to retailers.
Reuters' Jeffrey Dastin broke the story.>> Microsoft has shown retailers from around the world sample technology where it tracks shoppers through a store, and tracks what they take from a shelf, according to sources that we've talked to. We also know that it has discussed a collaboration in this area with Walmart, though it is not clear if there is any agreement between the two as of now.
>> Microsoft already has ties with the retail industry, with many chains buying and relying on Microsoft's Cloud computing power service Azure.>> It's not clear how soon Microsoft would bring this service to market, if at all. It faces a large challenge of trying to make this tech work for grocers and other retailers that already have razor thin profit margins.
And one indication of where Microsoft stands with this technology is that it has partnered with half a dozen companies that are piloting their own checkout-free solutions built atop Microsoft's Azure cloud. And so, retailers can actually see some of this tech already at what Microsoft calls its Retail Experience Center, which is located in its headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
>> Amazon itself took more than four years building its service in secret, and then another year collecting data in an employee-only pilot before launching Amazon Go to the public. It now plans to open checkout-free stores in Chicago and in San Francisco. The technology has stoked fears of widespread layoffs for cashiers, one of the most common jobs in the United States, paying an average of $22,000 a year.
Microsoft, Walmart, and Amazon all declined to comment.