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Toyota, Microsoft Reach License Agreement for Better Connected Cars

On March 22 Wednesday, Microsoft announced that it agreed to license a batch of patented vehicle technologies to Toyota Motor Corporation. The massive move is part of the software giant’s ongoing efforts to leverage its vast intellectual property portfolio and become a major stakeholder in connected-car technology. The agreement between both parties builds on their growing relationship that began with the Azure-based Toyota Big Data Center.

Microsoft Toyota connected cars

Microsoft plans to license out a suite of vehicle technologies to the Japan-based car manufacturer, which includes an operating system, gesture control, voice recognition, cybersecurity tools, and artificial intelligence. However, the software company emphasized that the deal is not exclusive, and Microsoft is looking for other automakers to partner with.

The companies did not disclose how much Microsoft charged Toyota for the use of the software company’s technology. Also undisclosed were the specific patents that were licensed.

Words from the bigwigs

“Microsoft invests $11.4 billion annually in research and development and for more than 30 years has been developing innovative technologies that are powering today’s connected car experiences,” said Erich Andersen, corporate vice president and chief IP counsel of Microsoft’s Intellectual Property Group, in a statement. “When you look across telematics, infotainment, safety and other systems in today’s connected cars, you find Microsoft technologies and innovation.”

“Microsoft doesn’t make cars. We are working closely with today’s car companies to help them meet customer demands, and we’re pleased today to announce the licensing of our patented technology to our partner, Toyota,” Andersen adds.

“This is an exciting time in the industry, and we believe that to create the best, most immersive connected car experiences, automotive makers should partner with technology leaders like Microsoft,” said Tokuhisa Nomura, executive general manager of Toyota’s Advanced R&D and Engineering Company.

Operating since 2003

Active since 2003, Microsoft’s intellectual property program managed to forge over 1.200 licensing partnerships with companies and organizations from various industries including Colombia’s Intergrupo S.A., Japan’s Fujisoft Inc., and U.S.A.’s Hewlett-Packard. Additionally, Microsoft already begun working with various other automakers before inking the deal with Toyota. It is also not the first time that the two companies worked together. With that said, Microsoft’s current agreement with Toyota is the software maker’s largest in terms of scope with an automaker.

Toyota Connected

Microsoft Toyota connected cars

Over the past year, Toyota and Microsoft worked on the carmaker’s data science center, Toyota Connected. With the partnership, Microsoft helped Toyota develop services that cater to individual driver preferences with the use of Microsoft’s cloud computing system.

“Through this patent partnership between Toyota and Microsoft, we will be able to innovate faster to deliver new, contextual and immersive experiences to our customers,” Nomura said.

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