Around three months after Ford Motor Co. chose BlackBerry subsidiary QNX's technology to power its Sync 3 in-car technology platform, and not technology from longtime partner Microsoft, Ford is now returning to Microsoft. Ford has contracted with Microsoft for the software giant to deliver cloud-based wireless updates to its connected cars.
Despite carrier, automaker and consumer enthusiasm for cars with wireless connectivity, most connected cars are vulnerable to hacking attacks and car makers are not protecting consumer data well enough, according to a report released by a U.S. senator.
Ford Motor Co. is hoping foster innov ation by opening a research center in Silicon Valley that is devoted to development for the connected car and autonomous car. The center, which will be based in Palo Alto, Calif., will focus on the convergence of the automobile and mobility.
Ford Motor Co. took the wraps off the latest version of its in-car technology platform, Sync 3, and though it has a bevy of new features, one of the biggest changes is behind the scenes: the platform is powered by BlackBerry subsidiary QNX's technology and not Microsoft.
Ford has come under fire over concerns the company and other auto makers are tracking motorists' movements via GPS data derived from their automobiles, a situation that has pushed one lawmaker to ask Ford to disclose exactly what GPS data it obtains from its cars and what it does with that information.
Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally will stay at the automaker through 2014, according to Ford board member Edsel Ford II, who reiterated the company's timetable. The announcement could mean that Mulally is now out of consideration to take the CEO spot at Microsoft once CEO Steve Ballmer steps down.
Executives from wireless carriers have repeatedly said over the last few years that the connected car represents a massive new opportunity. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has been particularly vocal about the possibilities: "The way we think about the car is that it's just a big smartphone on wheels," Stephenson said earlier this year at Mobile World Congress. "The connected car will become just as routine as people carrying a smartphone."
Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer held his final meeting with employees on Thursday, in what was reportedly a highly emotional event for the executive, who is stepping down after three decades with the company. Meanwhile, rumors continue to circulate about Ballmer's potential successors.
Ford is studying the way robots in space use multiple wireless network links to stay connected with mission control and hopes to use lessons learned for the next generation of connected cars.
While vehicle safely and security mandates in Europe, Russia and Brazil are moving forward, OEM and aftermarket safety and security telematics continue to see solid growth with the number of users to rise from 72 million at year-end to more than 300 million in 2018, according to ABI Research.