Microsoft gets chummy with Toyota to cash in on connected cars

With the world of autonomous vehicles and the connected car heating up, Microsoft has made a friendly play to reaffirm its place in the burgeoning segment.

It’s already a cut-throat world, with cash being thrown around like confetti in an effort to get ahead, but Microsoft’s approach is slightly different. With the launch of a new auto licensing program, its taking the soft and comforting approach.

We want to be your friend, the tech giant is saying, we don’t want to compete with you, but make you job easier. It’s a simple message, but a good one. You’re good with cars, we’re good with computers, let’s not complicate things here.

“We don’t make cars, but we have a long history of working with our partners in the automotive industry to deliver great products and services that power the automotive sector,” said Erich Andersen, Chief IP Counsel of Microsoft’s Intellectual Property Group, on the company’s blog.

“At Microsoft, we strive to deeply understand our partners’ objectives and meet them where they are, and intellectual property sometimes has a role to play in this context.”

The first company to sign up to the agreement is Toyota. While the details of the partnership are relatively light for the moment, the current licensing portfolio includes a wide-ranging number of areas including operating systems, file storage, Wifi and mobile connectivity, sensors, security and artificial intelligence components, such as gesture computing and voice recognition.

Toyota maybe the first to sign up to the agreement, but the latest move from Microsoft is a timely reminder of how powerful and influential the organization actually is. You don’t get to the top, and stay at the top of the technology world without doing a few things right.

How successful the strategy is remains to be seen. Competitors of Microsoft might be looking to develop their own cars, though a friendly nudge on the shoulder of a potentially struggling automotive industry, might well be a clever move from Microsoft.

  • Connected & Autonomous Vehicles

  • Connected Cars & Autonomous Vehicles Europe

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