Ford: Microsoft and Windows might still be used for next-gen Sync

A few days ago, rumors hit the Internet that Ford was going to bypass Microsoft and its Windows OS for the next version of its Sync in-card technology system. Today, a new interview with a Ford executive suggests a decision to break away from Microsoft has yet to be made, but that the company is planning to look at other options.

The interview on CNet with Ford managing director Pin van der Jagt quoted him as saying that Ford was "not married" to Microsoft to help develop the third generation of Sync. However, he did say that the company is in the middle of creating their requirements for the next version of the technology. Those specs will be sent to a number of companies, including Microsoft. Jagt said that each business will make their own offer to Ford based on those requirements. He added, "We go to evaluation and make a choice and that choice hasn't been made yet."

The previous rumors claimed that Ford was planning on using BlackBerry's QNX as the OS for the next version of Sync, which would be a major coup for the struggling tech company. As it stands, it sound like Ford is keeping its options open which could allow Microsoft to strike a deal and continue its Sync relationship.

Source: CNet | Image via Ford

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20 Comments

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Ronnet said,
If I were Satya I would immediatly create a product cell to directly meet the needs of this market segment.

That would be a very unwise thing for him to do as a new CEO but OK...

This ain't Microsoft's problem. It's Ford's. Ford is the one that designed the layer over Windows CE. But I do agree, Microsoft should at least attempt to offer to design the front-facing layer for them... but I'm sure they already did and Ford has other plans.

It is not a bad idea at all. Companies like Ford should not be developing software interfaces. We all know how bad software turns out when it is made by hardware companies. Even high end cars known for having good electronics (like BMW's iDrive) have a marginal at best UI.

What makes sense is for companies like MS and Apple that already have a well refined mobile user interface, to optimize their UI for use in a car and offer it as a total package. Yes, I am sure the car makers will want the UI to be skinnable, but that is much easier than writing it from the ground up. I think you will see this in the next 5 years.

Obry said,

That would be a very unwise thing for him to do as a new CEO but OK...

Usually such a comment is followed by an explanation..

as a ford sync user on ford edge, I have to say it is a good system. the navigation is incredibly precise. the music system syncs with your phone, so it will pick up in a song where you were listening before you got in the car.
it is not a natural language interface and you need to use the appropriate commands.

Now that Microsoft owns Nokia and has possessions of those powerful services is when Ford should stick with Microsoft and have them build everything. With Microsoft, Ford has the potential to recapture the mindset they once had and bring new innovations to the market.
The first thing they need to do is to get rid of that awful UI and build something like Metro. I believe Metro would be really awesome in replacement.

CarlDilone said,
Now that Microsoft owns Nokia and has possessions of those powerful services is when Ford should stick with Microsoft and have them build everything. With Microsoft, Ford has the potential to recapture the mindset they once had and bring new innovations to the market.
The first thing they need to do is to get rid of that awful UI and build something like Metro. I believe Metro would be really awesome in replacement.

MS did not buy services like Here for example. Actually BB signed an agreement during Las Vegas latest show to use Here services with its auto software.

Actually MS bought the rights to use HERE as a first-party platform with co-ownership like rights. I forget the legal term for it but it was the main sticking point because both companies consider it core to their plans. So MS has all the rights to use the platform, develop and change it just as they owned it outright.

libertas83 said,
Actually MS bought the rights to use HERE as a first-party platform with co-ownership like rights. I forget the legal term for it but it was the main sticking point because both companies consider it core to their plans. So MS has all the rights to use the platform, develop and change it just as they owned it outright.

If you own something you are the one empowered to choose if licensing it and to whom, MS is not in such position, Nokia is and licensed it to a MS competitor.
MS acquired ownership of the Lumia brand and can use it or drop it, it licensed the Nokia brand only for the Asha and feature phones and, for example, cannot use it in future smartphones.

Considering all the issues with the MS system I would be very surprised if Ford stayed with Microsoft. These days car tech sways buying decisions and is becoming increasingly important.

In recent surveys the in car tech was said to be bringing Ford's ratings down.

derekaw said,
Considering all the issues with the MS system I would be very surprised if Ford stayed with Microsoft. These days car tech sways buying decisions and is becoming increasingly important.

In recent surveys the in car tech was said to be bringing Ford's ratings down.

Microsoft only makes the core OS. Everything else on the system is made by Ford.

notchinese said,

Microsoft only makes the core OS. Everything else on the system is made by Ford.

Its not the core OS causing the issues?

derekaw said,

Its not the core OS causing the issues?


A former SYNC engineer revealed the following,

It's good that Ford is ditching Sync… but what killed Sync was Ford not Microsoft. Sync is a forked version of Windows CE that is maintained by Ford (and offshored to a 3rd party vendor for maintenance).

The bugs, the poor UX, it's all a result of extremely poor execution on the part of Ford. Switching to a new OS doesn't solve that problem.


http://microsoft-news.com/repo...hnology-to-blackberrys-qnx/

derekaw said,

Its not the core OS causing the issues?

It's not the core OS, it is the layer ford has put on it. I have both the 2013 Explorer and Taurus and I can tell you how slow and unstable the UI is. MyFord Touch is the real problem here. My susggestion is Ford needs to hire MS to help them build the UI not just the core OS.

derekaw said,

Its not the core OS causing the issues?

Not really. The heyday of the Sync issues was caused by Ford's use of a 3rd party developer to develop all the Sync UI and system functions. This developer did a piss poor job in their coding and it caused the system to be extremely poor performing and unstable.

Ford then fired this 3rd party developer and brought the Sync project in house and they worked closely with MSFT. The Sync releases from the in house team has been miles better. I have Sync which was updated to the in house version of the software and have not come across issues any of the issues I have experienced from the older versions. Its working great now.

Currently most of the customer sat. issues are due to human interface issues. Ford went with the flat "iPad" style of having no buttons or knobs, just a flat surface with buttons activated by capacitive touch. Drivers do not like this interface since it's more difficult to interact with the system while trying to maintain your attention on the road. This is why the newest versions of Sync based cars are moving back to physical buttons and knobs and the customer sat. has greatly improved because of this.

I don't own a Ford but have rented them many times. I have always been pretty impressed with the their system, especially years ago when it was new. The UI wasn't as friendly as it could be, but it had functionality that you typically only found on high end cars (at least as of 5 years ago)