Ford Community Manager Alan Hall told Benzinga in an email sent on Saturday that the motor company’s relationship with Microsoft is not exclusive.
“We had initial exclusivity to the Windows Embedded Automotive operating system when we first launched SYNC back in 2007, but that ended in 2008,” wrote Hall. “Microsoft works with other automakers such as Fiat and Kia, providing them with the same operating system for their own connectivity systems. Note that SYNC is a trademark of Ford Motor Company, although the system was co-developed with Microsoft.”
SYNC is Ford’s own built-in voice-activated technology for its vehicles, enabling drivers to make hands-free phone calls, play tracks from media devices, get directions and more.
“Nuance provides the voice recognition capability in SYNC, not Microsoft,” Hall wrote. Nuance is the company that is thought to be behind the technology used in Apple’s iPhone personal assistant Siri.
At last week’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, Apple announced that Siri functionality would be coming in some future cars, providing ‘eyes-free’ capabilities for drivers. A button on the steering when in a vehicle will launch Siri on your iPhone, which could be quite a boon to drivers. At the keynote, Apple’s senior vice president of iOS software Scott Forstall revealed: “A number of auto manufacturers have already committed to deliver eyes-free Siri integration in the next 12 month: BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda.”
“We’ve not said ‘no’ to the Apple Eyes Free feature,” said Hall. “We’ve just not announced our plans yet.”
“SYNC’s key to success is that it is a platform with universal compatibility,” Hall told Benzinga. “Right from the start, back in 2007, it was crucial to launch with compatibility for Apple iPod since it was the market leader. We continue to work with Apple very closely to ensure compatibility of their latest devices and software updates. We do the same with Android and Blackberry.”