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Microsoft and Toyota form strategic partnership on next-generation telematics; first roll-out on electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2012

Schema of the Windows Azure cloud computing platform. Source: Microsoft, David Chappell. Click to enlarge.

Microsoft Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. have formed a strategic partnership and plan to build a global platform for TMC’s next-generation telematics services using the Windows Azure cloud computing—i.e., Internet-based—platform.

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.

Part of the larger Windows Azure platform, Windows Azure is a platform for running Windows applications and storing data in the cloud. SQL Azure Database is a cloud database service from Microsoft. Windows Azure has three main parts: the Compute service, the Storage service, and the Fabric—a common way to manage and monitor applications that use this cloud platform.

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, 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 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 consumer solutions.

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. 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 CEO Steve Ballmer



I have a Toyota Prius and I like it very much.

However, I WILL NOT buy a car which has anything to do with MICROSOFT.

Not necessarily because it is bad quality (although MS software is not very reliable according to my experience) but because I won't tolerate the business behaviour of such firms.

If you care about progress and free competition, just refrain from MS software as much as you can.

@soltesca - Funny how everyone likes to pick on Microsoft, but the market that they participate in is wide open - they don't force anyone to use thier products - Apple got beat becasue they are over priced yuppie hipster computers and Sun doesn't sell consumer products... Just have your Mom use Linux instead...

If you want to look at companies with buseiness practices that are really affecting the average consumer, spend some time investigating Monsanto, Coca-Cola and Budweiser. There are some great documentaries, like "Blue Gold, War on Water," "Food, Inc" and "Beer Wars" ....


Each company has areas of expertise:

"SOFTWARE BUG FACTORY Microsoft is gearing up to patch a massive 64 security holes in its software next week.

Next Tuesday it will release 17 patches, with nine rated critical and eight rated important. It will be one of the biggest of Microsoft's monthly Patch Tuesday updates in a while, fixing vulnerabilities across Microsoft Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Visual Studio, the .NET framework and GDI+.
. . ." (From Asavin Wattanajantra of

If Toyota can let Microsoft take the hit for any impacts on vehicle reliability, this could be a good thing.

Bob Wilson

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