Dude, Microsoft is stoked to be partnering with a Los Angeles startup to provide cloud services to help governments ensure marijuana businesses are regulatory compliant.
Kidding aside, this is serious business. Microsoft is partnering with Kind Financial for technology to governments for "seed to sale tracking," Kind said in a statement Thursday.
The partnership is part of Microsoft's Health and Human Services Pod for Managed Service Providers, for end-to-end tracking and tracing of marijuana by state and local governments, Kind said. It's part of the Microsoft Azure Government cloud.
"No one can predict the future of cannabis legalization, however, it is clear that legalized cannabis will always be subject to strict oversight and regulations similar to alcohol and tobacco," Kind founder and CEO David Dinenberg said in a statement.
Kind Financial, based in Los Angeles, specializes in cannabis business technology. Its Agrisoft Seed to Sale Software provides retail operations, growers and producers with tools for plant tracking and management, as well as enterprise resource management across the organization. Kind Kiosk provides safe and secure cash management and order-taking at the point of sale. That's a particular issue for cannabis businesses -- because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, marijuana businesses have difficulty finding banks to handle credit card transactions and other financial services. Marijuana businesses deal in high volumes of cash. Microsoft isn't getting involved in the financial side of the business, or the plants, the New York Times notes. Microsoft's involvement is limited to government solutions.
The Times adds:
But for the young and eager legalized weed industry, Microsoft's willingness to attach its name to any part of the business is a big step forward.
"Nobody has really come out of the closet, if you will," said Matthew A. Karnes, the founder of Green Wave Advisors, which provides data and analysis of the marijuana business. "It's very telling that a company of this caliber is taking the risk of coming out and engaging with a company that is focused on the cannabis business."
Microsoft is searching for new revenue streams as its traditional, on-premises enterprise software business contracts. Microsoft Azure is a shining success story in the enterprise cloud market, but it hasn't been enough to offset Microsoft's diminishing legacy business. (See Microsoft: Cloud Growth Fails to Offset Overall Revenue Decline and Microsoft & LinkedIn: Marriage Made in the Cloud.)
As part of the company transformation, Microsoft on Monday announced it's acquiring LinkedIn, with plans to marry LinkedIn's deep knowledge of the global workforce with Microsoft's own Office and Dynamics CRM applications. (See Under Microsoft, LinkedIn's Big Cloud Plans Face Uncertain Future, Microsoft & LinkedIn: Marriage Made in the Cloud and Microsoft Nabs LinkedIn for $26.2B.)
— Mitch Wagner, , Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud.