Microsoft Licenses Patents To Toyota For A Seat In Connected Car

What Happened
Microsoft has officially joined the connected car race by announcing a new “auto licensing program” that lends its proprietary technologies in navigation, entertainment, and voice recognition to automakers, Toyota is the first partner to license Microsoft’s technologies, but the Japanese company offers no detail on exactly what it plans to use the patents for.

Up until now, Microsoft has relatively taken a back seat in the connected car development compared to its arch-rivals Google and Apple, revealing last year that it has no intention to build self-driving cars. This new licensing program seems more likely to offer components that can help auto brands to build a Windows-powered in-car infotainment system a la Apple’s CarPlay, which is a considerable step-down from the ambitious ”Windows in car” concept it had planned.

What Brands Need To Do
Regardless of its level of sophistication, this move by Microsoft serves as the latest harbinger in the transformation that the auto industry is going through. According to the estimation of market research firm Gartner, Inc, there will be a quarter billion connected vehicles on the road by 2020, enabling new media opportunities to reach customers while they are in the car. As connected car becomes the next battleground for consumer attention, brands should seize the opportunity to reach in-car consumers with personalized value offers through the dashboard and integrated digital channels.


Source: The Verge

Microsoft Trims Non-Core Units As Silicon Valley Consolidates

This week, Microsoft spun off two units unessential to its core business to the companies that could really use them. First, it sold off Bing’s mapping assets to Uber, who will also absorb around 100 Microsoft employers, among which many are specific-focus engineers who worked to get image data into Bing. Besides reiterating the importance of mapping tech, this acquisition signals Uber’s vast ambitions in possibly incorporating Bing’s 3D, aerial and street footage into its own data assets.

Moreover, Microsoft also announced yesterday that AOL will soon take over display ad sales for Microsoft, which includes mobile and video ads, in U.S., U.K., and 7 other global markets. Microsoft will continue to have display ads on various properties ranging from Skype to Xbox, but AOL, which just recently got acquired by Verizon for a whopping $4.4 billion, will be handling those ad sales instead. As part of the 10-year deal, AOL will replace Google with Bing on its digital assets for search and search advertising, starting Jan. 1st, 2016. This marks a significant gain for Bing, which recently passed the 20% market share in the States.