toyota microsoft.automotiveIT

Microsoft is keen to partner with the world’s biggest automaker (Illustration: Microsoft)

Toyota aims to build a "complete global cloud platform by 2015" and it is soliciting Microsoft's help to get there.

The Japanese carmaker and the US-based software giant announced Thursday that they plan to jointly build a global platform for Toyota's next-generation telematics services. The infrastructure will be based on the Windows Azure platform.

As part of the partnership, the two companies will make a joint $12 million investment in Toyota Media Service Co., a TMC subsidiary that offers digital information services to Toyota automotive customers.

New telematics applications resulting from the venture will be available on Toyota's electric and plugin hybrids in 2012.

Toyota said its 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."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a press release that the agreement underscores his company's commitment to the car industry. "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.”

Toyota President Akio Toyoda said the cooperation is "an important step in developing greater future mobility and energy management for consumers around the world."

And highlighting the smart-grid applications that will be a key feature of the planned platform, Toyoda added: "It is important to develop a new link between vehicles, people and smart center energy-management systems.”