Microsoft and Toyota Motor today announced they have forged a
strategic partnership and plan to build a global platform for TMC's
next-generation telematics services using the Windows Azure platform.
Telematics is the fusing of telecommunications and information
technologies in vehicles; it can encompass GPS systems, energy
management and other multimedia technologies.
As part of the partnership, the two companies plan to participate in
a 1 billion yen (approximately $12 million) investment in Toyota
Media Service Co., a TMC subsidiary that offers digital information
services to Toyota automotive customers. The two companies aim to
help develop and deploy telematics applications on the Windows Azure
platform, which includes Windows Azure and Microsoft SQL Azure,
starting with TMC's electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2012.
TMC's goal is to establish a complete global cloud platform by 2015
that will provide affordable and advanced telematics services to
Toyota automotive customers around the world.
As part of its smart-grid activities, aimed at achieving a low-carbon
society through efficient energy use, TMC is conducting trials in
Japan of its Toyota Smart Center pilot program, which plans to link
people, automobiles and homes for integrated control of energy
consumption. TMC believes that, as electric and plug-in hybrid
vehicles become more popular, such systems will rely more on
telematics services for achieving efficient energy management.
Microsoft has a long history of delivering platforms and services to
the automotive market, including in-car infotainment systems built on
the Windows Embedded Automotive platform, in-car mapping services
with Bing and the Microsoft Tellme voice application, and many other
"Today's announcement of our partnership with TMC is a great example
of how we continue to invest in the automotive industry and of our
commitment to power the services that are important to consumers,"
said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "It further validates the power of
the cloud, as the Windows Azure platform will provide the
enterprise-grade, scalable platform that TMC needs to deliver
telematics in its automobiles worldwide."
"This new partnership between Microsoft and Toyota is an important
step in developing greater future mobility and energy management for
consumers around the world. Creating these more efficient, more
environmentally advanced products will be our contribution to
society," said Akio Toyoda, president of TMC. "To achieve this, it is
important to develop a new link between vehicles, people and smart
center energy-management systems."