Microsoft and Xiaomi agree to partner up on AI, hardware, and the cloud

Xiaomi and Microsoft are expanding their partnership to work together on the cloud, AI, and more. The two companies, which previously worked together on a patent coss-licensing and app pre-install deal, have signed a Strategic Framework Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) intended to deepen their ties around cloud computing, AI, and hardware.

According to Xiaomi and Microsoft, the agreement will see both parties focusing on four areas in particular. In the AI space, the companies are in discussions to bring Cortana to Xiaomi's Mi AI speaker. Additionally, the two companies are exploring cooperative projects based on Microsoft's AI tech, "such as Computer Vision, Speech, Natural Language Processing, Text Input, Conversational AI, Knowledge Graph and Search, as well as related Microsoft AI products and services, such as Bing, Edge, Cortana, XiaoIce, SwiftKey, Translator, Pix, Cognitive Services and Skype," they say.

In the cloud, Xiaomi will use Microsoft's Azure platform to support "data storage, bandwidth, computing and other cloud services in international markets," as it seeks to expand globally. As part of the agreement, Xiaomi will work with Microsoft on joint marketing, channel support, and product development for "Xiaomi's laptop and laptop-style devices" in international markets.

"Xiaomi is one of the most innovative companies in China, and it is becoming increasingly popular in various markets around the world," said Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence and Research Group. "Microsoft's unique strengths and experience in AI, as well as our products like Azure, will enable Xiaomi to develop more cutting-edge technology for everyone around the world."

Both companies have a history of working together, but this latest partnership could serve to further benefit both. For Xiaomi, it gets additional technical and marketing support as it seeks to further expand its global footprint. The deal also serves to expand Microsoft's cloud and AI services with a growing hardware partner.