That is right! You read that correctly. It seems that Microsoft appears to be breaking a corporate taboo by setting up a partnership this past Thursday with Kind Financial, a cannabis industry-focused software company, according to the New York Times. Which will mean that Microsoft will be the first major tech giant to enter the cannabis industry.
The two companies will be working on creating Azure-powered cloud apps that will track marijuana plants from “seed to sale,” as described by the pot industry. This is in hopes to help licensed dealers comply with the necessary laws. The software will also allow them to handle all transactions through the use of Kind’s software systems, and track inventory.
Since most corporations will not touch the cannabis industry with a ten-foot bong, it is assumed that Microsoft’s decision to enter this trade was not something that was lightly considered. However, being the case that the software giant operates out of Washington State, where it is actually legal to sell pot, they will also be able to see the profits from it.
Kimberly Nelson, the executive director of local and state government solutions at Microsoft said that “We do think there will be significant growth since the industry is regulated, there will be more transactions, and we believe there will be more sophisticated requirements and tools down the road.”
With the 25 US States that have already legalized pot, either for recreational or medical use, and voting this year to approve legalizing it in 5 other US States, including Nevada and California, it appears that there is no slow down for the rising growth in the cannabis industry.
While Kind is among one of the many small companies that are trying to mainstream the cannabis industry, offering a broad range of products, and facilitating marijuana sales through the use of A.T.M.-style kiosks, Microsoft will not be going anywhere near those with the agreed upon partnership.
Microsoft will only be working with the “government solutions” that Kind provides to offer the needed software to local and state governments who are trying to build compliance systems. “The goal of this relationship is to leverage each company’s resources to provide state, country, and municipalities with purpose built solutions for [cannabis seed to sale] technology,” Kind said.
It seems to be a bold move for the tech giant Microsoft to make to replace the lost revenues from its fading desktop software business. Moreover, with all the emphasis that Microsoft has put on its cloud business, Azure, it seems that Kind will be one of the eight pieces of preferred software that Microsoft will offer to users of the Azure government, but will only be the one related to marijuana.
What is your take on Microsoft entering the cannabis industry? Do you think it is a good idea for this type of partnership to exist? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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