Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Microsoft announces partnership with Toyota to invest about $12M in telematics, in-car Internet connectivity; Google plans on major overhaul of YouTube

Software giant Microsoft today announced it had entered into a partnership with Toyota Motor Corp. to form a partnership to build what it is calling "next-generation telematics services using the Windows Azure platform." The partnership promises to move forward the building of new in-car Internet-based telecommunications and entertainment systems for consumer vehicles.
The new Toyota car systems will use Microsoft's Windows Azure platform and will appear first in Toyota's electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2012. The 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 said in their press release today.

"This new partnership between Microsoft and Toyota is an important step in developing greater future mobility and energy management for consumers around the world. Creating these more efficient, more environmentally advanced products will be our contribution to society,” said Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corp. “To achieve this, it is important to develop a new link between vehicles, people and smart center energy-management systems.”

The WSJ is reporting this afternoon that Google is planning a major site redesign at its YouTube video website.

The redesign would organize the video service by "channels" and to spend as much as $100 million on producing original programming for new premium channels.

The story claims that Google is trying to position itself "for the rise of Internet-connected televisions that allow people to watch online video in their living rooms, according to people familiar with the matter."

Google's own Google TV has struggled to gain a foot hold in the market, but Apple TV's service, which has performed better, includes YouTube as one of its main free services. The combination of iPad streaming, Apple TV and Google TV could make YouTube a giant in the programming distribution area if the company were to begin offering its own programming, or to offer premium channel spots to other content providers.