A few months ago technology and car industry analysts wagged their fingers and boasted about Microsoft’s lack of innovation in the car space. There were reports about Microsoft’s failures to compete against BlackBerry owned QNX in the battle for Ford Motors in-dash technologies. Other pundits claimed there was a growing trend in Microsoft’s inability to compete with technology giants like Apple and Google when faced with the increasing trend of the IoT.
Today Ford Motors knowingly or unknowingly helped reveal Microsoft’s real target as the company moves forward in technology.
According to reports, Ford is looking to expand their connected car services by way of Microsoft’s cloud-based Azure platform.
According to Don Butler, Executive Director of Connected Vehicle and Services for Ford, the new cloud based service will enable car manufacturer to gather more data about user tendencies.
A connected cloud service will help Ford acquire wireless data that can then be used remotely to diagnose mechanical issues or alert owners and dealers about maintenance schedules or emergency recalls.
Butler is also excited that with the expanse of Microsoft’s Azure cloud, Ford’s cloud network will be able to integrate a wider array of mobile solutions for users while they are in the car and away. “There will be revenues associated with that,” Butlers says, he also notes that third-party developers “may come up with new ways to leverage the data and create new opportunities to deliver services” to vehicle users.
Ford is just one of many automakers that are helping Microsoft make their case for their efforts in the cloud. Toyota and Microsoft developed a cloud-services partnership around Azure four years ago. China’s Chery Automobile Qoros unit also struck a similar deal to Toyota’s back in 2013.
While QNX, CarPlay, and Android Auto continue to steal the headlines as being the services of choice for automakers, Microsoft’s Azure continues to position itself as the services connection for the future.