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Microsoft and Toyota have entered a new strategic partnership to build a next-gen information and telecommunications platform for Toyota’s vehicles based on the Redmond company’s Windows Azure cloud computing system.

The companies say they will participate in an investment of 1 billion yen (about $12 million) in Toyota Media Service Co., a Toyota subsidiary focused on information management. The rollout will begin with Toyota’s electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles next year, focusing in part on energy management systems.

Follow-up: What Microsoft and Toyota are actually doing, and how it’s different

Microsoft yesterday signaled plans to shift the focus of its Hohm energy application more toward cars.

According to the news release, the goal of the partnership is “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.”

The partnership expands Microsoft’s footprint in the automotive world beyond its existing partnerships with Ford, Hyundai-Kia and Fiat.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda and Microsoft CEO will be discussing the deal in a news conference later today.

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