Ford 'not married' to Microsoft for next-gen Sync, but BlackBerry isn't necessarily in

Ford is looking for partners to create the third version of the incredibly popular Sync infotainment system. Microsoft is still in the running, and so is BlackBerry's QNX.

Ford Focus

BARCELONA, Spain -- There's been no shortage of talk and speculation of late surrounding Ford's relationship with Microsoft.

Microsoft has, since the beginning of Sync, provided the software underpinnings that make the infotainment system work. With millions of Sync-equipped vehicles on the road, it's big business, and with rumors of a switch to QNX making the rounds, that's potentially bad news for Microsoft.

However, Ford is saying not so fast. Here in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress we spoke with Ford managing director Pin van der Jagt about the situation. He said that Ford is always questioning and evaluating suppliers and that re-evaluating the Microsoft deal is just a part of normal business. "Sync 1 and 2 was done with Microsoft but we are not married with them. For us, it's a supplier, so every time we keep evaluating is it the right partner," he said.

That doesn't mean that Microsoft is out and that BlackBerry's QNX is in, though: "That is a rumor. What we are in the process of, we are spec'ing out our requirements for the next generation: what we want to do, what features we want to add, what functionality. Then you go through a normal supply selection process. Those requirements for the next generation get sent out to everybody, to Microsoft, to Apple, to everybody, and they come back with offers... We go to evaluation and make a choice and that choice hasn't been made yet."

So, Ford is in the middle of requesting proposals, the RFP stage that comes before many large projects -- and Sync 3 will definitely be a large project. While Microsoft isn't a lock for the future of Sync, neither is QNX. At least, that's the official story for now.

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About the author

Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to videogame development. Currently he pursues interesting stories and interesting conversations in the technology and automotive spaces.

 

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