Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA) announced on Tuesday said it has formed a strategic alliance with Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) to “develop new health care delivery models, technology and retail innovations to advance and improve the future of healthcare.”
The companies said they will combine the power of Microsoft Azure, Microsoft’s cloud and AI platform, healthcare investments, and new retail solutions with the reach of Walgreens’ more than 8,000 U.S. stores and locations around the world.
Calling it a strategic partnership and disclosing no financial terms, Walgreens and Microsoft say they have each made a multi-year research and development investment to “build healthcare solutions, improve health options and lower the cost of care.”
Under the deal, Walgreens is signing up more than 380,000 employees for its Microsoft 365 cloud apps offering, including Office 365, Windows 10, and mobility and security tools. The Company will move most of its information technology workloads to Microsoft’s Azure public cloud.
Beyond operating Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, Walgreens Boots Alliance has almost 400 distribution centers that deliver to hundreds of thousands of doctors, hospitals, health centers and pharmacies annually, according to its latest annual report. The company acknowledged Amazon’s PillPack deal in the report’s risk factors section.
The deal will also include tests of “digital health corners” within some Walgreens stores, plus cooperation on research and development and software for managing patient engagement and chronic disease.
“Our strategic partnership with Microsoft demonstrates our strong commitment to creating integrated, next-generation, digitally enabled health care delivery solutions for our customers, transforming our stores into modern neighborhood health destinations and expanding customer offerings,” said Stefano Pessina, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of WBA. “WBA will work with Microsoft to harness the information that exists between payors and health care providers to leverage, in the interest of patients and with their consent, our extraordinary network of accessible and convenient locations to deliver new innovations, greater value and better health outcomes in health care systems across the world.”