DLSS Posted January 2, 2007 Share Posted January 2, 2007 Ford Aims to Jazz Up Its Fleet With Microsoft Pact Ford Motor Co. is hoping an effort with Microsoft Corp. to bring much of the connectivity of a personal computer into a car's cockpit will spruce up its U.S. product portfolio. The Dearborn, Mich., auto maker will unveil next month a hands-free Bluetooth wireless system and in-vehicle operating system developed by Microsoft that will eventually be an option for its entire Ford brand lineup, according to people familiar with the matter. The new system, to be dubbed Sync, will allow for hands-free cellphone communication and other wireless information transfers inside the car, including the ability to receive email and download ... source = wallstreet journal online (not complete so here's a second article) Ford Motor Co. is hoping an effort with Microsoft Corp. to bring much of the connectivity of a personal computer into a car's cockpit will spruce up its U.S. product portfolio. The Dearborn, Mich., auto maker will unveil next month a hands-free Bluetooth wireless system and in-vehicle operating system developed by Microsoft that will eventually be an option for its entire Ford brand lineup, according to people familiar with the matter. The new system, to be dubbed Sync, will allow for hands-free cellphone communication and other wireless information transfers inside the car, including the ability to receive email and download music, these people said. Auto makers already offer many technological features, including jacks for Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod digital-music player and Bluetooth equipment for cellphones. Microsoft has touted its system as a complete platform for everything from entertainment to data storage. A person close to Ford said it sees the system as a competitive advantage over rivals, although Italy's Fiat SpA offers a similar system outside of the U.S. The effort, the broadest between Microsoft and a mainstream auto maker selling cars in the U.S., follows the company's recent decisions to expand satellite-radio offerings and introduce features such as iPod jacks. Ford is expected to report a massive loss for this year and is scrambling for ways to increase the appeal of its cars and trucks in its core North American market. The Ford deal also could help spur Microsoft's effort to boost its presence in the auto industry. The drive to install more and more electronic features in cars has sparked debate in the auto industry concerning the amount of distraction that drivers encounter in their cars. While the Sync system is complex, it will share attributes with Bluetooth wireless technology that is integrated in Ford products built in Europe, where certain hands-free phone-use laws are enforced. Various Ford competitors also utilize Bluetooth. Ford's Sync system will debut next year as an option on at least two Ford brand models that are to be refreshed next year, the Focus and Five Hundred sedans, according to one person familiar with the matter. The auto maker plans to offer the system as an option on the entire Ford brand lineup, including trucks, starting in the 2008 model year, this person said. Eventually, the Lincoln and Mercury divisions are expected to have the option. In many cases, the technology will be integrated into a navigation system. Sync is based on Microsoft's automotive operating system that has been under development in recent years by the company's Windows Automotive division, which in 2004 struck a broad development deal with Fiat related to in-car computing. A person close to Microsoft said the company has turned in a spotty performance when it comes to Bluetooth technologies and that the Ford deal could help spur Microsoft's efforts. Ford and Microsoft will jointly announce the Sync initiative at the Detroit auto show and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas during the week of Jan. 10, according to the people familiar with the matter. Ford spokeswoman Sara Tatchio declined to comment. Microsoft spokesman Chris Elliott said the company has been working with Ford on certain technologies and will have an announcement at the Detroit auto show and Las Vegas's CES but declined to discuss specifics. great quote of a comment on this : So the old joke finally is true, in a way...If Microsoft made cars: 1) The driver seat would be standard; passenger seats optional. 2) You would have the ability to signal left and right turns, but the car would only turn right. Seriously, I wonder how long before our auto mechanics have to have the tools to remove viruses from the car's operating system? btw part of the old joke : if cars ran windowsif microsoft would launch a car : # For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.# Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car. # Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and re-open the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this. # Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine. # Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads. # The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning light. # The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying. # Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna. # Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car. # You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off. 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