Microsoft has moved to increase its foothold in the rapidly growing sphere of transport tech with an investment in the Singapore-based ride-hailing service, Grab, as part of a partnership that the two companies said will allow them to collaborate on technology projects, including big data and artificial intelligence.
The Financial Times reported Microsoft’s investment totaled around $200 million, in a deal which will see Grab using Microsoft’s cloud services, Azure, as the ride-hailing company’s “preferred” cloud platform.
Grab will work with Microsoft to explore mobile facial recognition, image recognition and computer vision technologies to improve the pick-up experience, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday.
The investment is Microsoft’s first in the Southeast Asia ride-hailing market.
Ming Maa, president of Grab, said: “This partnership signals a deep collaboration with Microsoft on an array of technology projects, including big data and artificial intelligence, that will transform the delivery of everyday services and mobility solutions in Southeast Asia.”
A Microsoft spokesperson quoted by Business Insider said: “We see great potential in Grab as an innovative tech player in the region, and look forward to partnering with them on a part of the advancement and adoption of digital services across Southeast Asia.”
Microsoft invested in Uber in 2015 and in 2017, it began working with India’s Ola to build a connected-car platform and power in-car entertainment via it’s Azure cloud-computing service.