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Ford Teams Up With Old Friend Microsoft to Create New Cloud-Based Service

March 17, 2015

Ford Teams Up With Old Friend Microsoft to Create New Cloud-Based Service

As Peaches & Herb once sang, “reunited and it feels so good.”

After a two-year hiatus, Ford is back working with long-term partner Microsoft on a new cloud-based Service Delivery Network that will enable Ford to provide wireless software updates to full line of 2016 vehicles.

The wireless updates will be delivered via the Sync 3 infotainment system, which will be installed in some Ford cars beginning in late 2015 and instituted across the Ford lineup by the end of next year. The Service Delivery Network will run on Microsoft’s cloud-based Azure platform and connects to the Internet via a WiFi hotspot connection.

In an interview with Automotive News, Don Butler, Ford’s executive director of connected vehicle and services, trumpeted the Microsoft partnership.

“We've obviously had a good, long relationship with Microsoft,” said Butler. “Microsoft understands the automotive environment and the kinds of experiences that we'd like to enable.”

According to Butler, the cloud-based service “will increase our ability to understand the user experience inside the vehicle . . . with the informed permission of customers.”

Butler said that the cloud connectivity program will grant Ford the ability to access data about the vehicles they manufacture. For instance, Ford would be able to detect mechanical issues, deliver schedule maintenance alerts and provide insurers with vehicle usage information.

Microsoft developed the first two iterations of the Sync system before Ford replaced them with Blackberry’s QNX system to produce Sync 3. Now that Microsoft is back working on cloud-based services, Ford will be able to use Microsoft global data center network to host its software updates, which should allow for a quicker and more reliable rollout of updates. 

At this stage, it is unclear whether Ford’s Service Delivery Network will resemble GM’s OnStar communications service. However, Butler admits that the partnership with Microsoft “positions us to be able to deliver a broad set of connectivity-related services.”

As mentioned earlier, the Sync 3 system will come standard equipped in all Ford models by 2016. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t find a great new Ford car or pre-owned vehicle when you visit Elk Grove Ford. Located on 9546 Auto Center Drive, our Ford vehicle model lineup is the best you’ll find in the Northern California area. For more information, stop by to speak to one of our sales representatives or give our Internet sales team a call at (800) 721-0645. We look forward to hearing from you!