Microsoft signs Cloud deal with NBA beating AWS, Google

Software major Microsoft today announced its Cloud deal with the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Microsoft Cloud to power NBANBA will adopt Microsoft’s Azure cloud to enhance the online experience for fans, and will use Microsoft Surface tablets in unspecified ways, starting in the league’s 2020-21 season.

Microsoft will become the Official Artificial Intelligence Partner and an Official Cloud and Laptop Partner for the NBA, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), NBA G League, and USA Basketball beginning with the 2020-21 NBA season.

The league could use Microsoft’s technology to add features to its website and apps, such as delivering games in fans’ native languages, letting them chat during games, displaying the best camera angle for the moment and showing relevant stats about favorite players.

The league also wants to draw on archive videos to augment what people see while watching and roll highlight clips of favorite players.

NBA will move some key workloads to Azure from its on-premises data centers for its website and mobile apps, and will use Azure tools for indexing events in footage, encoding video feeds and consolidating disparate data sources in a single virtual place, a Microsoft spokesperson explained. Azure will be the exclusive cloud partner for the NBA’s direct-to-consumer service.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noted that the company has worked with the NBA for a long time.

Microsoft in previous years announced cloud deals with firms like AT&T, Gap, Salesforce and Walmart.

Microsoft recently won the $10 billion Pentagon contract termed Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud, or JEDI, beating out favorite Amazon’s AWS.

Amazon’s Amazon Web Services currently holds about 32 percent of the cloud computing market, while Microsoft’s Azure has about 18 percent, according to the latest report from research firm Canalys.

AWS contributes nearly 13 percent to Amazon’s total net sales, Azure Cloud business accounts for about 33 percent of Microsoft’s revenue and are both a major cash cow for the companies.

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