Microsoft and Ford: Two Millionth Sync-Enabled Car Sold

Two million drivers can tell their cars what to do with Microsoft's and Ford's Sync in-vehicle communications control system, but will it help your car hold its value?

Ford Motor Company announced it has sold its two-millionth vehicle equipped with the Sync in-car communications and infotainment software that it developed with Microsoft, just ten months after it delivered its one millionth Sync-enabled vehicle.

The one-millionth Sync-equipped Ford (NYSE: F) auto was a 2010 Fusion hybrid delivered to -- who else? -- Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer, Ford said in a statement on Wednesday. Ford did not identify who received the two-millionth Sync-enabled vehicle.

Microsoft has been in the automobile software business with Ford since the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2007, when the companies announced their partnership. Sync is based on the Microsoft Embedded Automotive platform. The first Sync-equipped 2008 Fords went on sale in the fall of 2007.

Microsoft has since signed deals with other auto makers, including Fiat and Hyundai-Kia, under their own brand names.

According to a statement by the Detroit auto maker, Sync has not only proven popular with many drivers, it also helps Sync-equipped vehicles hold their resale value.

For example, a Sync-equipped 2008 Fusion after a year in service was still worth an extra $240 over a similar vehicle without Sync and, after two years, that premium still held at $200, Ford's statement said. The Sync option costs $395.

Additionally, some 80 percent of potential buyers said Sync favorably impressed them, and 70 percent said it would tend to influence their purchase decisions.

"The speed with which we've hit the two million mark, the premium Sync adds at auction, and the improvements in purchase consideration show that it is a true differentiator for us, adding real value for the customer," Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a statement.

Sync, available on a wide variety of Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles, including the popular Explorer and F-150 models, as well as the Mustang and Taurus, offers a range of services designed for autos.

Among other features, the Sync system provides hands-free calling, music playback, 911 assistance and, on 2010 cars equipped with a GPS receiver, turn-by-turn directions and real-time traffic information.

"The beauty of building on the Windows Embedded Automotive software platform is that its flexibility has enabled Ford to create new, engaging in-vehicle experiences over the past three years for their consumers to enjoy behind the wheel," Kevin Dallas, general manager of Microsoft's Windows Embedded Business, said in a statement.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.




Tags: Microsoft, software, Ford, Sync, embedded


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