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Xiaomi and Microsoft to deepen the cooperation around cloud computing, AI and hardware, in order to make Xiaomi’s products and services better fit global market
Beijing, Feb. 23, 2018 – Today, Xiaomi Corporation and Microsoft Corporation signed a Strategic Framework Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further deepen the partnership between the two companies. Microsoft’s globally leading technologies in cloud computing and AI will help in strengthening Xiaomi’s leadership in mobile, smart devices and services, and contribute to the acceleration of its international expansion.
Dr. Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and Research Group said, “Xiaomi is one of the most innovative companies in China, and it is becoming increasingly popular in various markets around the world. 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.”
Wang Xiang, Global Senior Vice President and Head of International Business, Xiaomi, said: “Microsoft has been a great partner and we are delighted to see both companies deepening this relationship with this strategic MoU. Xiaomi’s mission is to deliver innovation to everyone around the world. By collaborating with Microsoft on multiple technology areas, Xiaomi will accelerate our pace to bring more exciting products and services to our users. At the same time, this partnership would allow Microsoft to reach more users around the world who are using Xiaomi products.”
Based on the strategic MoU, Xiaomi and Microsoft’s cooperation will focus on the following aspects:
- Cloud support: Xiaomi is in the process of rapidly expanding its user base in global market. Xiaomi and Microsoft will explore utilizing Microsoft Azure cloud platform to support Xiaomi’s user data storage, bandwidth, computing and other cloud services in international markets.
- Laptop-type devices: Xiaomi will leverage Microsoft’s support on joint marketing, channel support, and future product development for Xiaomi’s laptop and laptop-type devices to penetrate international markets.
- Microsoft Cortana and Mi AI Speaker: Both companies are discussing opportunities to integrate Cortana with Mi AI Speaker. Senior executives from both parties are involved to drive deeper technology integration and collaboration for AI-powered speakers, a market segment projected to grow rapidly in the next few years.
- AI services collaboration: Xiaomi and Microsoft intend to explore multiple cooperative projects based on a broad range of Microsoft AI technologies, 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. This in-depth cooperation in AI technologies and products, on top of Xiaomi’s solid experience in smart hardware, big data, and its smart device ecosystem, as well as the significant breakthroughs in core artificial intelligence technologies and products that Xiaomi has achieved, aims to generate even more synergy between hardware and software to enhance the end-user experiences on Xiaomi devices.
Founded in 2010, Xiaomi has achieved remarkable development as one of the world’s most innovative technology companies. Xiaomi’s fast-expanding product line includes but is not limited to smartphones, smart TVs, and a range of smart home products.
The cooperation between Xiaomi and Microsoft has been long-standing: since 2015, Xiaomi has adopted Microsoft Azure operated by 21Vianet in China to run its Mi Cloud service for smartphone users; in June 2016, the two companies reached a global-scale partnership, and Xiaomi began to pre-install Microsoft Office and Skype apps on its Android-based smartphones and tablets, to benefit its customers with modern workforce and communication tools; at the same time, Microsoft and Xiaomi also reached intellectual property agreements, to help Xiaomi’s product go global compliantly.
On October 31, 2017, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella visited Xiaomi’s retail store with Lei Jun, the founder, Chairman and CEO of Xiaomi, and Satya showed great interest in Xiaomi’s products and services. The strategic MoU signed today, further expands the potential of the cooperation between the two companies, and reveals more possibilities for technological innovations, new products and breakthrough businesses in the future.
Xiaomi was founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Lei Jun based on the vision “innovation for everyone”. We believe that high-quality products built with cutting-edge technology should be made accessible to everyone. We create remarkable hardware, software, and Internet services for and with the help of our Mi fans. We incorporate their feedback into our product range, which currently includes Mi and Redmi smartphones, Mi TVs and set-top boxes, Mi routers, and Mi Ecosystem products including smart home products, wearables and other accessories. With presence in over 70 markets, Xiaomi is expanding its footprint across the world to become a global brand.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
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A forthcoming Kubernetes hybrid cloud option that joins products from Cisco and Google promises smoother portability and security, but at this point its distinguishing features remain theoretical.
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Cisco plans to release the Cisco Container Platform (CCP) in the first quarter of 2018, with support for Kubernetes container orchestration on its HyperFlex hyper-converged infrastructure product. Sometime later this year, a second version of the container platform will link up with Google Kubernetes Engine to deliver a Kubernetes hybrid cloud offering based on the Cisco-Google partnership made public in October 2017.
“Cisco can bring a consistent hybrid cloud experience to our customers,” said Thomas Scherer, chief architect at Telindus Telecom, an IT service provider in Belgium and longtime Cisco partner that plans to offer hosted container services based on CCP. Many enterprises already use Cisco’s products, which should boost CCP’s appeal, he said.
CCP 2.0 will extend the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure software-defined network fabric into Google’s public cloud, and enable stretched Kubernetes clusters between on-premises data centers and public clouds, Cisco executives said. Stretched clusters would enable smooth container portability between multiple infrastructures, one of the most attractive promises of Kubernetes hybrid clouds for enterprise IT shops reluctant to move everything to the cloud. CCP also will support Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services public clouds, and eventually CCP will incorporate DevOps monitoring tools from AppDynamics, another Cisco property.
“Today, if I have a customer that is using containers, I put them on a dedicated hosting infrastructure, because I don’t have enough confidence that I can maintain customer segregation [in a container environment],” Scherer said. “I hope that Cisco will deliver in that domain.”
He also expects that the companies’ strengths in enterprise data center and public cloud infrastructure components will give the Kubernetes hybrid cloud a unified multi-cloud dashboard with container management.
“Is it going to be easy? No, and the components included in the product may change,” he said. “But my expectation is that it will happen.”
Kubernetes hybrid cloud decisions require IT unity
Cisco customers have plenty of other Kubernetes hybrid cloud choices to consider, some of which are already available. Red Hat and AWS joined forces last year to integrate Red Hat’s Kubernetes-based OpenShift Container Platform with AWS services. Microsoft has its Azure public cloud and Azure Stack for on-premises environments, and late last year added Azure Container Service Engine to Azure Stack with support for Kubernetes container management templates.
Stephen Elliotanalyst, IDC
However, many enterprises continue to kick the tires on container orchestration software and most do not run containers in production, which means the Cisco-Google partnership has a window to establish itself.
“Kubernetes support is table stakes at this point,” said Stephen Elliot, analyst at IDC. “Part of what Cisco is trying to do, along with other firms, is to expand its appeal to infrastructure and operations teams with monitoring, security and analytics features not included in Kubernetes.”
As Kubernetes hybrid cloud options proliferate, enterprise IT organizations must unite traditionally separate buyers in security, application development, IT management and IT operations to evaluate and select a product. Otherwise, each constituency will be swayed by its established vendor’s product and chaos could ensue, Elliot said.
“There are a lot of moving parts, and organizations are grappling with whom in their organization to turn to for leadership,” he said. “Different buyers can’t make decisions in a vacuum anymore, and there are a lot of politics involved.”
Beth Pariseau is senior news writer for TechTarget’s Cloud and DevOps Media Group. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.