BlackBerry Partners With Ford, Could Signal A Turnaround
At the North American Auto Show in January 2007, Ford Motors (NYSE: F) president and CEO Alan Mulally along with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Chairman Bill Gates announced their Sync partnership. Ford would implement Microsoft technology that allows the driver and passengers in Ford automobiles to make hands free telephone calls, control music and perform other functions with the use of voice commands.
Citing sources with knowledge of the agreement, Bloomberg stated, “using QNX will be less expensive than licensing Microsoft technology and will improve the flexibility and speed of the next Sync system.”
The switch to BlackBerry could help Ford, as the company has faced many complaints about malfunctioning technology systems in surveys by J.D. Power & Associates and Consumer Reports.
BlackBerry, on the other hand, is likely to emerge as the clear winner, as the company's CEO John Chen fights to regain lost customer and investor confidence. BlackBerry shares have lost around 95 percent of its value from its all-time highs in mid-2008 and Chen's vision of cooperating with the auto market could be seen as a positive sign.
BlackBerry's entry into the Ford ecosystem will expand QNX's image as Ford has more than 10 million vehicles on the road with Sync.
“This would be a huge infusion of trust and confidence to have BlackBerry and QNX expanding into a Ford,” Thilo Koslowski, auto analyst for researcher Gartner told Bloomberg. “This is really the crown jewel in BlackBerry's crown and could make the rest of the company shine as well.”
Technology companies are competing to win business from auto makers as in-car technology is becoming an important selling point. QNX already has in-car technology partnerships with Acura, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Land Rover and several other large manufacturers.
QNX technology already has an impressive portfolio of partnerships with companies such as Cisco in which QNX helps power many Cisco products like the Cisco CRS-1, the world's highest capacity router.
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