Sony and Microsoft announced a strategic partnership on cloud technology for gaming and AI applications.


Kenichiro Yoshida, President and CEO, Sony Corporation (left), and Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. Image credit: Microsoft.

The two tech giants signed the memorandum of understanding this Thursday. The two companies will explore the potential of bringing the power of Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure to Sony’s streaming services. The result will potentially enable the partners to provide “more enhanced entertainment experiences for their worldwide customers.”

The collaboration will also focus on improving AI experience for customers. To achieve this, the companies will consider integrating Microsoft Azure AI platform into Sony’s consumer products.

Finally, the partners see a lot of promise in hybridizing Microsoft’s AI capacities with Sony’s image sensors and semiconductors. The result might bring about new intelligent image sensor solutions.

“For many years, Microsoft has been a key business partner for us, though of course the two companies have also been competing in some areas. I believe that our joint development of future cloud solutions will contribute greatly to the advancement of interactive content.”

Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony CEO

“Sony has always been a leader in both entertainment and technology, and the collaboration we announced today builds on this history of innovation. Our partnership brings the power of Azure and Azure AI to Sony to deliver new gaming and entertainment experiences for customers.”

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO

The language of memorandum is rather vague. So, it’s unclear how exactly the potential collaboration will work around rivalry between Xbox and PlayStation.  Despite the competitive dynamic, however, this partnership seems like a logical move in the face of the imminent expansion of the streaming market. Hosting Sony’s streaming services will greatly benefit Azure, Microsoft’s fastest growing business. Plus, Microsoft will be able to extend its cloud technology to new products, like Sony’s cameras and TVs.  Sony, on the other hand, will take advantage of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure to better compete with Stadia, Google’s upcoming streaming platform.