Microsoft Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday that they are partnering to integrate Web services with Toyota's vehicles.
The companies are investing $12 million in Toyota Media Service Co., which is a digital information services subsidiary of Toyota. Together, Microsoft and Toyota will develop and roll out "telematics" applications for cars, which could provide features like GPS, power-management and multimedia services.
The services will use Microsoft's Windows Azure, a system for building and using software over the Internet.
Toyota's 2012 hybrid vehicles will be the first to get the services, and by 2015 it expects to offer them to customers worldwide.
"This new partnership between Microsoft and Toyota is an important step in developing greater future mobility and energy management for consumers around the world," said Akio Toyoda, president of TMC.
Microsoft has been involved in the auto market for several years _ it designed Ford's Sync entertainment system, which was rolled out in 2007 and lets drivers do things such as make phone calls, listen to incoming text messages and use GPS to get turn-by-turn directions.