Ford to drop Microsoft for new Sync system from Blackberry

Ford Focus interior detail
24 Feb, 2014 12:51pm Alex Yau

Ford to use Blackberry tech on future cars, ditching the Windows-powered Ford Sync system

Ford is ditching its current Microsoft Windows-based Sync infotainment system, used in cars like the new Ford Focus, in favour of a new system from Blackberry.

All new Ford Sync systems will now operate on Blackberry’s QNX platform. The new platform is cheaper to license than Microsoft’s technology and promises to improve the flexibility and speed of Ford’s infotainment tech.

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The QNX platform, which is already available in some Audis and BMWs, cost $200 million when Blackberry bought it in 2010. The software was created by a company called QNX Software Systems, and is used to power the Blackberry 10 operating system.

Ford's equipment is falling behind its competition, with the company finishing 23rd out of 32 for in-car tech in the Auto Express 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. Ford said the quality of its vehicles has been mixed over the past three years and it had failed to deal with those issues in 2013.

Over 7 million Fords currently use the Microsoft-based Ford Sync system, which allows drivers to make phone calls and play music using voice commands. It can also help with calling the emergency services in the event of an accident, and deliver GPS coordinates of the indecent location.

Microsoft and Blackberry aren’t the only companies with deals in the automotive industry. Google recently announced that it would bring its Android operating systems to Honda and Hyundai models, and the appearance of an Apple iCar could happen sooner than you think.