Skip to comments.Ford expected to drop Microsoft, use BlackBerry QNX in next-gen Sync
Posted on 02/22/2014 2:04:31 PM PST by ImJustAnotherOkie
TOKYO/DETROIT/TORONTO (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co., struggling with in-car technology glitches, will base the next-generation Sync system on BlackBerry Ltd.'s QNX and no longer use Microsoft Corp.'s Windows, according to people briefed on the matter.
Using QNX will be less expensive than licensing Microsoft technology and will improve the flexibility and speed of the next Sync system, said the people, who declined to be identified because the decision hasn't been made public. Ford has more than 7 million vehicles on the road with Sync using Microsoft voice-activated software to make mobile phone calls and play music.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who was said to be a candidate to become Microsoft's CEO until early this year, has seen Ford slump in surveys by J.D. Power & Associates and Consumer Reports, with customers citing malfunctioning tech systems and touchscreens. Ford has said the quality of its vehicles have been "mixed" each of the past three years and fell short of its plan to improve those results in 2013.
Improving Sync is crucial for Ford to draw car shoppers who are increasingly looking to be connected at all times. In-vehicle technology is the top selling point for 39 percent of auto buyers, more than twice the 14 percent who say their first consideration is traditional performance measures such as power and speed, according to a study by the consulting firm Accenture released in December.
Jay Cooney, a Ford spokesman, didn't immediately respond to phone and e-mail messages left outside of normal business hours. Peter Wootton, a spokesman for Microsoft who works for Waggener Edstrom, declined to comment. Paul Leroux, a spokesman for QNX, declined to comment.
The Ford and Lincoln brands ranked No. 26 and No. 27 out of 28 brands in Consumer Reports' annual reliability survey released in October. While the Lincoln luxury line matched the industry average in J.D. Power's Initial Quality study in June, the namesake finished 27th out of 33 brands.
Technology companies are battling for a greater presence in vehicles. Google Inc. announced an alliance with General Motors Co., Honda Motor Co., Hyundai Motor Co. and chipmaker Nvidia Corp. in January to bring the Android operating system to cars. Apple Inc. is working with BMW AG, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan Motor Co. and others to introduce its iOS operating system to cars with devices such as the iPhone.
BlackBerry's QNX Software Systems can be found in cars made made by Volkswagen AG's Audi unit and BMW, according to its Web site. QNX and Microsoft are the main suppliers of automotive operating system software, according to researcher IHS iSuppli.
BlackBerry, at the time named Research in Motion Ltd., bought QNX Software Systems for $200 million in 2010. In addition to its presence in cars, QNX technology is used to manage nuclear power plants and by the U.S. military for unmanned aerial drones. Its customers include Cisco Systems Inc., General Electric Co. and Caterpillar Inc.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who was said to be a candidate to become Microsoft's CEO until early this year,
You're not being considered any more Bud!!!
who is this blackberry some dude living in the WH???
QNX is great software. Probably the only smart move RIM has made in the past 5 years is buying the company. Say buh-bye M$...
MS rejected him so he's paying them back.
I’d say more like a PoisonBerry.
i heard he likes boys
> QNX is great software.
Wow. I used QNX (we pronounced it Q-nix) on a project in 1991! The OS had character-cell based “panels” with tabs and other advanced-for-the-time features, especially when used in character-cell based “windows”. We used it in its non-preemptive mode specifically for the real-time application we were developing.
Umm, years ago their was a story in the CAD world that a major CAD software company spilled the beans before the ink was dry and an un-named automaker didn't go with their product because of that. Oh boy, some of these Corp Cultures don't take well to these leaks. Let's see what happens.
FWIW, I know an apple fan who's better half works @ Ford and for eon's has asked why wasn't it apple based. Sync goes Blue-Screen of Death mode at times so maybe this is a good move...
Blackberry still exists?
Sync has a bit of delay in it, speed would be good...
Microsoft is too big and tries to be everything to everyone in one platform. That is their business model.
Meanwhile, the future of operating systems belongs to those who focus on the individual and limited tasks. A small nimble OS that does a few things extremely well is far more attractive than a large clunky system that can do everything adequately.
Just my .02
IMHO this makes sense as Ford strives to be the American Audi, not an American BMW. Audi is considered by autowonks to be the techno-performance flagship ( according to my auto gnome ) of cars. If you look at it from that perspective this decision would be spot on, that and the fact that Consumer Ranking Systems rule the world and the Sync system is knocking them way down from where they should be because of it ( aka MS operating system ).
I’ve been told Blackberry is much more secure than MS.
“QNX is great software.”
Agreed here. They have been ahead of their time for a long time, and have always pushed reliability over speed/features. There may even be spacecraft/satellites that use it.
When Microsoft comes out with “Windows for Nuclear Power Plants”, I’m outa here.
When I did contract work for the US Army we used cisco network gear and the computers ran windows embedded — no spinny hard drive meant quick boot up and very reliable. Of course there wasnt much pron you could view over a microwave link but it worked.
” In-vehicle technology is the top selling point for 39 percent of auto buyers, more than twice the 14 percent who say their first consideration is traditional performance measures such as power and speed”
So apparently a Fiat 500 or “Smart Car” or the like, would be preferred over a Lexus, Infiniti, Mustang, Firebird, Camero and a whole host of others as long as they are better “connected”? I’m really at a lost for words here.
When I did contract work for the US Army we used cisco network gear and the computers ran windows embedded no spinny hard drive meant quick boot up and very reliable. Of course there wasnt much pron you could view over a microwave link but it worked.
They did apparently get most of the bugs out of Windows CE (embedded)...many GPS’s and automotive nav systems use it. My wife’s car uses it, and it has never crashed (both Windows CE and the car!).But the reputational damage was done. I was one of many millions of people who participated it Windows CE’s beta test...by paying hundreds of dollars for products based on it starting 15 years ago.