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FILE - This April 12, 2016 file photo shows the Microsoft logo in Issy-les-Moulineaux, outside Paris, France. The Pentagon has awarded Microsoft a $10 billion cloud computing contract called JEDI, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. The contentious bidding process for the contract pitted Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle, among others, against one another.
FILE - This April 12, 2016 file photo shows the Microsoft logo in Issy-les-Moulineaux, outside Paris, France. The Pentagon has awarded Microsoft a $10 billion cloud computing contract called JEDI, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. The contentious bidding process for the contract pitted Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle, among others, against one another. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Cab hailing platform Ola is set to unveil a new connected car project through a strategic partnership with software major Microsoft, which will also include Microsoft pumping in around $200 million into Ola’s parent company ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd., two people are of the deal told Mint requesting anonymity.

News agency PTI first reported the development on Tuesday afternoon. Microsoft will also acquire around 5% equity in ANI with the current investment, said the second person close the company’s fundraise talks.

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Additionally, Bengaluru-based Ola is also expected to launch a new connected vehicle project which will include software and hardware solutions addressing the emerging mobility segment, according to the same person quoted above.

“The (Ola-Microsoft) partnership will include cloud solutions, a connected vehicles product, and deep tech capabilities focused on future mobility solutions. The tech will also have direct implications with Ola Electric as well," the person added asking not to be named.

Ola did not responded to an email seeking comments, while a Microsoft spokeswoman said that it has “nothing to share" on the development.

Ola’s proposed connected vehicles project is also an extension of the initial tie-up with Microsoft that was announced in November 2017, the second person added. In 2017, Ola said that it would become a connected car solutions supplier to auto companies worldwide. As part of the partnership, Microsoft would become the default cloud services provider to Ola wherein the cab-hailing platform would also use Microsoft Azure for Ola Play, which is Ola’s existing connected car service.

Ola’s efforts to break into mobility tech solutions is also seen as a competitive response to Uber which is also currently developing its own electric vehicles fleets along with a self-drive car project which has already begun piloting tests in the US market.

“If Ola has to build large-scale connected cars data, then it will either require electric vehicles on the road or tech such as IoT hardware and sensors installed in existing fleets. They (Ola) will have to also compete with people like Uber who are already building partnerships with EV manufacturers and self-drive features. However, it is going to be difficult to purge data from the existing fleet of cars on Ola..... Ola already has strategic investors like Hyundai and KIA who also have their own electric vehicles," said the first person aware of the talks mentioned above.

In March this year, Ola had raised $300 million from both Hyundai Motor Company and KIA Motors Corporations. At that time Ola mentioned in a statement that the three companies would build electric vehicles infrastructure exclusively for India market.

However, Mint wasn’t able to ascertain whether Ola would eye the enterprise or consumer market with its connected car project. According to Jayanth Kolla, founder and partner of research and advisory company Convergence Catalyst, Ola’s market opportunity for connected cars are across categories such as enterprise fleets (employee transport fleets), vehicle manufacturer controlled fleets on ride sharing platforms such as VOGO, Bounce, Zoomcar, and the consumer focused application across examples like automobile insurance and personal vehicle tracking.

“But the problem is today, manufacturer controlled fleets are also part of platforms like Bounce, VOGO, and Zoomcar. Bonce is a direct competition for Ola, and Bounce themselves are also developing a similar connected vehicles technology," added Kolla.

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