VW will channel all of its digital offerings through Microsoft’s Azure software. The automaker plans to set up an automotive cloud development center near Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters with a workforce that’ll grow to 300 engineers.
Microsoft and Volkswagen struck a deal to use the U.S. software giant’s cloud technology to connect the auto manufacturer’s entire vehicle fleet as the world’s biggest carmaker steps up its transformation into digital and mobility services.
VW will channel all of its digital offerings through Microsoft’s Azure software, creating the world’s largest automotive cloud of its type in an effort that’ll help streamline future developments, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said Friday in a joint statement. By 2020, more than 5 million new cars per year will connect using the software. The two companies didn’t disclose the value of the deal.
Volkswagen said it plans to set up a North American automotive cloud development center near Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond with a workforce that’ll grow to 300 engineers.
“The strategic partnership with Microsoft will turbocharge our digital transformation,” said VW Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess. “We will play a key role in shaping the future of auto-mobility.”
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Microsoft is trying to catch up to market leader Amazon in selling services that run cloud applications and store data for customers. While Amazon entered the market first and still has three to four times as much share as No. 2 Microsoft, the software giant is trying to win over large enterprise customers who may have historically used its corporate and computer software.
Boosting its software operations is a critical part of Volkswagen’s strategy through 2025 to tackle a seismic industry shift toward electric and self-driving vehicles. Last month, Diess foreshadowed a “massive expansion” in its digital investments, including partnerships and acquisitions.