Ford Said to Drop Microsoft Windows for BlackBerry QNX in Its Next SYNC System

Ford is likely to base the next-generation SYNC infotainment technology on BlackBerry’s QNX operating system, ditching Microsoft’s Windows.

According to a report from Bloomberg that cites “people briefed on the matter”, Ford executives have had enough of in-car technology flaws and will take a shot with Blackberry’s QNX. The latter will be less expensive than licensing Microsoft technology and will improve the flexibility and speed of the next SYNC system, the unnamed sources said.

Ford refused to comment on this issue. “We do not discuss details of our work with others or speculate on future products for competitive reasons,” said company spokeswoman Susannah Wesley. Microsoft and BlackBerry declined to comment.

BlackBerry’s QNX Software Systems are currently used by cars made by Audi and BMW, according to the company’s website.

Ford currently has more than 7 million vehicles on the road with SYNC using Microsoft voice-activated software to make mobile-phone calls and play music. Ford has suffered in recent years in quality surveys by J.D. Power & Associates and Consumer Reports, as customers complained of malfunctioning technology systems and touch screens.

The Blue Oval admitted that the quality of its vehicles has been “mixed” each of the past three years and fell short of its plan to improve those results in 2013.

Ford needs to improve SYNC to gain customers who are increasingly tech-savvy when it comes to infotainment systems. According to a study by the consulting firm Accenture, in-vehicle technology is the top selling point for 39 percent of auto buyers, with only 14 percent citing traditional performance measures such as power and speed.

By Dan Mihalascu

PHOTO GALLERY

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