Microsoft and Toyota announced today that they are forming a strategic partnership to utilize Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform to deliver Toyota Media Service’s next-generation telematics services to customers worldwide. Telematics brings together telecommunications and information technologies in vehicles providing services such as GPS systems, energy management, and other multimedia technologies.
Microsoft and Toyota will work together to deploy the telematics applications on Windows Azure and Microsoft SQL Azure. The scheduled deployment will begin in 2012 with TMC’s electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The ultimate goal is to provide a global cloud platform by 2015 for Toyota customers around the world.
With Microsoft’s expertise in delivering in-car services using the Windows Embedded Automotive platform, they are well equipped to handle any variety of services offered by TMC. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also further emphasized Microsoft’s expanding role in the automotive and cloud services industry: “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’s partnership with Toyota is one of a number of partnerships that Microsoft has formed to deliver critical services over the Windows Azure platform. Recently, Pixar demonstrated their rendering tool, RenderMan, running on Azure. With the ability to scale vertically and horizontally, platforms like Azure are taking what used to require specialized hardware and resources deployed by individual companies and implementing them in the potentially limitless cloud.Further reading: Microsoft, Toyota