Windows on the road: Microsoft Auto becoming entertainment platform for more cars 

Microsoft Corp. plans to announce another deal with a major automaker to use its Microsoft Auto operating system by the end of the year. The global software giant already has two deals worldwide, including one to power Ford's popular Sync wireless hands-free communication and entertainment system.

02/20/2008


DETROIT– Microsoft Corp . plans to announce another deal with a major automaker to use its Microsoft Auto operating system by the end of the year, Martin Thall, general manager of Microsoft's automotive business unit, told the Detroit Free Press during a Tuesday meeting in Detroit.
The global software giant already has two deals worldwide.
One, in the United States, is with Ford Motor Co ., which last year used the operating system to launch Sync, a wireless hands-free communication and entertainment system. The other, which predated Ford, is with the Italian automaker Fiat SpA, which resulted in the launch of Blue&Me in 2006.
However, the exclusive rights to Microsoft Auto in the United States end later this year—opening the door for full-scale competition in the growing area of fully integrated in-car computer systems, which can assist in communications, entertainment and a variety of other functions, such as diagnostics and safety.
General Motors Corp . has offered some of these functions through its subscription-based OnStar feature for years. But Ford's Sync, which is sold for a one time price of $395, upped the ante.
While Thall praised Ford for being a pioneer in adopting its technology aggressively, he said Microsoft also wants to satisfy all the other automakers interested in its products.
"Demand exceeds our ability to please everyone," Thall said.
Other automakers, he said, are interested in catching up to Ford. Last year, more than 30,000 customers opted for Sync, making it one of the fastest-growing new products in the industry.
Sync is now offered in 12 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles, and Ford plans to expand the technology to nearly all of its vehicles by the end of the year in hopes of putting its products on the consideration list for many consumers.
Microsoft has an ambitious plan to roll out its operating system and other products in the United States and globally.
Through automakers such as Ford and Fiat , as well as key suppliers such as Magneti Marelli , Siemens VDO and Alpine , Microsoft is hoping to help automakers meet their customers' needs in various parts of the market.
In the near-term, Thall said Microsoft will be focused on integrating various functions, such as navigation systems, traffic reports, and point-of-interest directories, among other items.
Fiat, for example, will soon be rolling out an enhancement to its Blue&Me system called Ecodrive, which gives drivers feedback about their driving to help them lessen their impact on the environment. Longer term, though, Thall sees Microsoft bringing more value to the lives of drivers as it strengthens its position online. That includes, he said, the ability to bring more relevant advertising to drivers, based on their location.
Thall, who drives a Cadillac Escalade with OnStar, said Microsoft wants to develop solutions that are relevant and accessible for everyday drivers. Ultimately, he said, Microsoft wants to become an "integral part of the vehicle."





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.