Japanese auto major Toyota Motor Corp and technology giant Microsoft Corp plan to build a global platform for TMC's next-generation telematics services using the Windows Azure platform, the carmaker said in a statement.

Telematics is the fusing of telecommunications and information technologies in vehicles; it can encompass GPS systems, energy management and other multimedia technologies.

As part of the partnership, the two companies plan to participate in a 1 billion yen (approximately $12 million) investment in Toyota Media Service Co, the statement said.

The two companies aim to help develop and deploy telematics applications on the Windows Azure platform, which includes Windows Azure and Microsoft SQL Azure, starting with TMC's electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2012, it added.

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 TMC.

TMC's 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 has a good record of delivering platforms and services to the automotive market, including in-car infotainment systems built on the Windows Embedded Automotive platform, in-car mapping services with Bing and the Microsoft Tellme voice application, and many other consumer solutions, it said.