January 7, 2007 10:00 AM PST

Ford, Microsoft get in Sync on in-car tech

LAS VEGAS--Ford Motor and Microsoft on Saturday announced plans for a new in-car entertainment system that will start showing up on new cars later this year.

Dubbed Ford Sync, the system uses Microsoft's Auto software and allows drivers to dial their cell phone and have their text messages read to them through voice commands. Drivers will also be able to use voice commands or steering wheel buttons to play music stored on a portable device including Apple Computer's iPod and Microsoft's Zune as well as other MP3 players and even USB flash drives.

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Sync will show up on a dozen Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models this fall and is planned to be an option throughout the company's line in the 2009 model year. It is expected to cost several hundred dollars.

One of the key selling points, the companies say, is that the system is designed to support an array of technology, including products that have yet to be developed.

"Sync is what today's generation and today's drivers demand in connectivity," Ford group Vice President Derrick Kuzak said in a statement. "Not only does it offer hands-free phone operation and iPod, Zune or MP3 player connectivity, it's built on a software platform that is upgradeable and will allow us to offer new features by simply upgrading the software."

Ford is showing the technology at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, while Microsoft is expected to tout Sync at the Consumer Electronics Show here.

Microsoft has been touting in-car technology for years, largely based on its Windows CE operating system. Bill Gates has touted Microsoft's auto efforts in past Consumer Electronics Show keynotes, and predicted in June 2003 that within three years, Microsoft's Windows CE technology would be in 30 percent of new cars.

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6 comments

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Apple's FairPlay!
How did Microsoft "ARRANGE" for Apple's FairPlay (aac) drm to
be included?
Posted by BentonBear (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pretty Cool....
The great part is that, from what I've read, the Synch software doesn't require you to use simply Microsoft products. It includes support for iPod, Zune and "other devices" - which probably means Rhapsody or Play for Sure stuff.

If this holds true, then I have to give them the thumbs up fot the not-so-proprietary approach.

Sweet!
Posted by toosday (343 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ford = BSOD
One more thing in life that I am certain of: I will never buy a Ford. A
car that crashes, what a novel idea!
Posted by offonoff (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dear Mr. Ford
I understand your desperation to get your company back on
track, profitable, and make it more competitive in the global
economy.

However, aligning yourself with a company that arguably makes
some of the worst software in the world does not strike me as a
very smart move.

The Microsoft brand is not something that inspires people to
buy products. It raises the spectre of deceit, blue screens of
death, spyware, and viruses. It shouts monopoly. It screams the
inability to even update its core businesses (Windows and Office)
in a timely or competent fashion.

I fear you have added nothing to your products with this alliance
that will make a difference in a purchasing decision.

Goodbye Ford. Hello Toyota.
Posted by ppgreat (1128 comments )
Reply Link Flag
As long as it's just an option ...
... and not a "mission-critical" component of the car, I suppose it might work. If Microsoft gets involved in anything to do with the basic operation of the vehicle, then I wouldn't consider buying any Ford product containing their code. Microsoft is unfamiliar with the concept of product reliability.
Posted by maniac42 (31 comments )
Link Flag
Apple Mac Mini used on Ford Assembly Line
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.macworld.com/news/2006/12/19/miniford/" target="_newWindow">http://www.macworld.com/news/2006/12/19/miniford/</a>
index.php?lsrc=mwrss
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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