Microsoft and Toyota Motor will announce a collaboration between the two companies later Wednesday, they said.
Although neither company provided more details of the subject of the press conference, the most obvious partnership would involve Sync, the Microsoft-developed car entertainment system used by Ford.
Japanese daily Nikkei says, however, that the two companies might be working on more energy-efficient automotive technology. In its report on Wednesday, the Nikkei said that the tie-up will involve the development of a smart-grid technology which will make the use of electricity in cars more efficient.
Toyota may also be expanding its deal to use Microsoft’s Windows Azure or other cloud computing services like Office 365. That might not be a sexy as voice recognition, but it better explain why Ballmer is making a personal appearance: cloud computing is one of Microsoft’s top sales priorities for 2011.
Winrumors thinks that “the companies will likely partner to offer a full Microsoft Automotive solution that goes further than Toyota’s previously announced Bing integration.
Stay tuned for further details today.