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Ford Ready to Un-Friend Microsoft

Maker reportedly ready to switch to BlackBerry for its Sync system.

by on Feb.24, 2014

Ford's latest Sync update expanded the capabilities of the system but failed to completely resolve ongoing consumer complaints.

Ford has good reason to take claim for kick-starting today’s automotive infotainment revolution.  Its Sync system was the first to really put the technology in the eye of the American consumer, ushering in an era where motorists can access everything from music apps like Pandora to social media such as Facebook while driving.

But while Sync initially led millions of potential buyers to consider Ford products, an assortment of problems with Sync and the related MyFordTouch and MyLincolnTouch interfaces has resulted in countless others steering clear of the maker – Ford watching its quality scores slumping as a result of those issues.

Tech Savvy!

So there’s probably little surprise that the automaker is about ready to un-friend Microsoft, the Seattle-based software giant that supplies the underlying technology behind Sync – and which has gotten much of the blame for glitzing screens, slow responses and balky touch interfaces. Instead, the Detroit maker is expected to shift to the QNX operating system developed by BlackBerry Ltd.


Despite Problems, Ford Expanding Commitment as Sync Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Live operator assist will be included with new Lincolns.

by on Nov.09, 2012

New Lincoln models, such as the 2013 MKZ, will get an expanded suite of Sync Services, including live operator support, free for three years.

Despite some persistent carping about the system’s effectiveness and ease of use, Ford Motor Co. and Microsoft are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the partnership which spawned the groundbreaking Sync voice-activated infotainment system.

With over 5 million Ford vehicles in the market using the technology – but with complaints leading to recent declines in quality and customer satisfaction surveys – Ford says it will stick with Sync and related systems like MyFordTouch, but also find ways to improve the usability of those technologies.

The Last Word!

It will also offer more features, Ford announcing that it will now offer three years of Sync Services — the upgraded version that provides live operator assist – on all 2013 Lincoln models. That notably includes the all-new Lincoln MKZ.


Ford Sets up Shop in Silicon Valley

New R&D center part of shift in thinking about car as mobile “platform.”

by on Jan.06, 2012

Ford's new Silicon Valley center will be located near key tech giants like HP, Microsoft and Google - as well as Stanford University.

Ford Motor Co. is setting up a new research lab in California’s fabled Silicon Valley, underscoring the Detroit maker’s efforts to turn the car into a mobile “platform,” rather than just a mechanical conveyance.

The new facility will help Ford develop a variety of new features and apps for its future products, from high-tech safety systems to advanced infotainment systems, company officials note.  It will be used to develop partnerships with both established technology firms – such as Microsoft, which developed the underlying software behind Ford’s popular Sync system – and start-ups.

The lab, which will be located near Stanford University, in Palo Alto, will help by “ushering in a new era of collaboration and finding new partners to help us transform what it means to be an automaker,” explained Ford’s Chief Technical Officer Paul Mascarenas, who suggested the move is “a very natural extension” for the second-largest of the U.S. makers.

Your Inside Source!

Ford has put a heavy emphasis on technology in recent years – as have many of its competitors.  Mark Fields, Ford’s President of the Americas, frequently talks about “democratizing technology,” by taking high-tech systems previously found in limited use on luxury products and putting it into high-volume production on mainstream models like the new Ford Fusion.


Ford, Microsoft Partnering to Charge Up EVs

“Easier and more affordable” ownership promised.

by on Mar.31, 2010

An EV, says Ford CEO Alan Mulally, will double the energy consumption of the average home.

Ford Motor Co. will team up with software giant Microsoft in an effort to make it “easier and more affordable” to purchase an electric vehicle, the automaker’s CEO Alan Mulally announced during an appearance at the New York Auto Show.

The big buzzword in the auto industry, these days, is “electrification,” with Ford and most of its rivals unleashing a wave of hybrids, plug-ins and battery-electric vehicles.  But the transformation is likely to be a difficult and costly one, Mulally cautioned, during the 2010 auto show’s keynote speech and again during a Ford news conference.

Your Auto Show Source!

The cost of battery technology is part of the problem, along with limited range.  But there’s also the challenge of simply plugging in – and making sure there’s a ready and affordable supply of energy.  That’s where Washington-based Microsoft comes in.  The software giant plans to adapt its HOHM application to work on future Ford products, starting with the 2012 Focus Electric, a battery-powered version of the maker’s new compact passenger car.