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.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Hope they don't get eaten like Nokia did, Xiaomi actually makes some pretty nice phones. Inb4 (Mi)crosoft MIX 2 or some ****.
  • Yea, it sounded like a good partnership until the last paragraph, where it was mentioned that Xiaomi will get the 'benefit' of Microsoft's marketing capability. Poor Xiaomi, has no-one warned them that MS don't do marketing?
  • I wish for a Xiaomi Win10ARM laptop. They always have good price to performance ratio
  • Xiaomi now should offer to purchase MS Win10 mobile division....
  • Why? They're one of the biggest phone makers on earth using Android. Why would they flush that down the toilet on a platform clearly people didn't use in large enough numbers?
  • Isn't this one of the companies that was going to make windows phones back in the day? It really doesn't matter because until Microsoft gets rid of Terry, Joe, one other guy. Look at the HK speaker which I enjoy but acknowledge they are neglecting in the feature and marketing areas.
  • They never announced they would make a Windows phone. There was a partnership to turn the Mi4 into a Windows 10 phone (I have one) and it was decent. But it went no further.
  • The next thing you will hear is: Microsoft is acquiring Xiomi for $24 billion.
  • Doubt that they will do acquisition on one another based on this agreement. Xiaomi has solid market share in China and they need to strengthen it. One area which they are in need of a leap is the AI. Their partner, Google has no presence at all in China. By signing in to this agreement, they now have a jump start to deliver the leading AI experience to China market. If Xiaomi decides to release their AI-driven products to other countries (India being a another big Xiaomi market), Microsoft can deliver through Azure. For Microsoft, they now have a big hardware player on their side. Importantly, this one isn't on a dying phase. Good win-win deal and I am looking forward to seeing the first product of this agreement.
  • we need smart tv with windows 10 (and also in cars)
  • There's already a Windows 10 powered smart box for the TV. The Xbox ;-)
  • True. Does the Ford still have the Sync that was some form of windows or something? I heard it sucked in the beginning but that's been a few years ago.
  • Espero que resolvam o meu