Microsoft and Toyota announce Windows Azure cloud partnership

By Tom Warren, on 6th Apr 11 6:22 pm with Comments Off

Microsoft and Toyota announced a strategic partnership on Wednesday that utilizes Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform.

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 new partnership will see a newly built 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.

TMC is currently 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 is positioning itself as a safe bet for consumers who will rely more and more on telematics services in the future. As the use of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles become more popular, systems like TMC’s will be used more heavily for achieving efficient energy management.

“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.”

Microsoft and Toyota completed a signing ceremony today at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington-based headquarters. Both companies will hold a media conference at 1PM PST to further detail the partnership.