Toyota, Microsoft to Co-Develop Auto Software

April 6, 2011 Updated: October 24, 2015

Automaker Toyota Motor Corp. and software developer Microsoft Corp. announced on Wednesday a partnership to use Microsoft’s cloud-computing applications on Toyota vehicles.

Microsoft’s Azure, as the company calls its suite of cloud applications and data servers, will be used by Toyota in future vehicles for GPS location services, multimedia services, and to manage power and usage on hybrid cars. The service has the potential to rival and surpass the functionality of General Motors' OnStar.

The two companies will invest in total 1 billion yen (US$12 million) in a Toyota Media Service Co., a subsidiary of Japan-based Toyota.

The partnership seeks to develop technologies “to link people, automobiles, and homes for integrated control of energy consumption,” the companies said in a statement released on Wednesday. The companies said that they aim to have a complete cloud-based telematic system in place by 2015.

“[The partnership] 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,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive officer.

Microsoft is currently a partner of Ford Motor Co. in developing the successful Ford SYNC interactive auto entertainment and information system.