Ford: We’re Not Married with Microsoft for SYNC

Ford says that it’s indeed considering BlackBerry for the next-generation SYNC system

By on February 27th, 2014 14:22 GMT

A few days ago, it emerged that American carmaker Ford might actually dump Microsoft for the next-generation SYNC system installed in millions of cars sold across the globe for BlackBerry and its QNX system.

While no details were available when the first report reached the web, a Ford executive has now confirmed for CNET that the American car manufacturer is indeed reconsidering its deal with Microsoft, which means that BlackBerry is indeed getting a chance to see its platform powering the next-generation SYNC version.

“SYNC 1 and 2 was done with Microsoft but we are not married with them. For us, it's a supplier, so every time we keep evaluating is it the right partner,” Ford Managing Director Prof. Dr. Pin van der Jagt was quoted as saying at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Microsoft hasn’t yet commented on the possibility to be replaced by BlackBerry for the next-generation SYNC system, but it’s pretty clear that the software giant cannot be satisfied with such a decision.

SYNC was officially introduced in the 2008 Ford Focus, and the American carmaker moved quickly to install the infotainment voice-activate, in-vehicle connectivity system on the entire North American vehicle lineup.

Three years later, the company announced that SYNC was available on a total of 3 million vehicles worldwide, including all models sold in the United States. At this point, SYNC is said to be powering more than 7 million Ford cars sold worldwide.

SYNC is a hands-free system that was designed to reduce the level of distraction when behind the wheel, while also allowing drivers to play their favorite songs from the MP3 player or mobile phone without pressing a single button, just by using voice commands.

It also comes with features developed to enhance safety and reduce fuel consumption, including a so-called 911 Assist tool that automatically connects with emergency teams in case the airbags are deployed.

Microsoft has worked together with Ford on SYNC ever since the first version of the service came out, so it’s pretty clear the Redmond would want to continue its collaboration for the future versions as well. Ford, on the other hand, is looking for enhanced features and more affordable solutions, so BlackBerry QNX could really be a good choice in this case.

As usual, Redmond hasn’t provided a statement on this, but we’ve reached out to the company and we’ll update the article when and if we get an answer.

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