“Ford Motor Co. plans to offer an in-car communication and entertainment system from Microsoft Corp. as an option in a dozen Ford, Mercury and Lincoln models starting later this year and in nearly all of its vehicles next year,” Todd Bishop reports for The Seattle Post-Intellligencer.
Bishop reports, “The technology connects to a mobile phone for making hands-free calls, and to a portable media device for controlling and playing music through the audio system. Ford will use the name ‘Sync’ for its version of the Microsoft system… Microsoft previously struck a similar deal with Italy’s Fiat Auto, the company behind the Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia brands. But the Ford pact secures a key spot for Microsoft’s software among the Big 3 North American automakers… Ford, meanwhile, says it sees the Microsoft system as one way to differentiate its vehicles in the eyes of car buyers.”
MacDailyNews Take: Oh, working with Microsoft will “differentiate” you alright.
Bishop continues, “The automaker’s ‘recovery as a business depends upon having products that customers absolutely must own,’ said Gary Jablonski, Ford’s manager for infotainment system product development.”
MacDailyNews Take: Note to Ford: Microsoft sucks. They don’t make “absolutely-must-own” products any more than you do.
Bishop continues, “The system will connect via USB port with iPods and other music devices, including Microsoft’s Zune, to let drivers browse and play music using voice commands or buttons. Details about songs and phone calls will be visible on the radio display or another screen inside the car. Microsoft has worked out a deal to let the system play songs encoded in Apple’s FairPlay AAC format. Previous versions of the Microsoft Auto system played songs from iPods in unprotected formats, but not those encoded in that way.”
Full article here.
Microsoft “has worked out a deal” with whom “to let the system play songs encoded in Apple’s FairPlay AAC format?” Apple? Or perhaps DVD Jon’s DoubleTwist venture? Maybe Navio? What’s the deal, exactly? No offense to reporter Bishop, but that deal is the big story here, not the deal between a struggling car maker and a company known for bloated, uninspiring, insecure, counterintuitive software.
When crap collides: Ford and Microsoft team up for in-vehicle operating system – December 29, 2006
DVD Jon cracks Apple’s FairPlay DRM, looks to license it – October 23, 2006
DVD Jon reverse-engineers Apple’s FairPlay DRM, starts to license it – October 02, 2006
Navio threatens to hack Apple iTunes Music Store’s FairPlay DRM à la Real’s ‘Harmony’ – November 22, 2005