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It's pretty amazing how much in-car technology has advanced in recent years, and Ford's Sync system has been at the forefront of vehicle connectivity and infotainment. Since its debut on the 2008 Ford Focus, Ford says more than five million of its vehicles have been equipped with Microsoft-developed technology.

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Ford SYNC is a success. The connectivity software has found its way into four million cars since its introduction in 2007. With European and Asian buyers getting SYNC for the first time this year, and North American offerings like the Fusion and Flex getting it as standard equipment, Ford expects to add nine million more users by 2015.

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Ford says that it's in the process of responding to customers who feel that the company's Sync and MyFord Touch systems are cumbersome or difficult to use. According to the Detroit Free Press, the company's internal quality evaluations have discovered a few issues. While speaking to reporters, Mark Fields, Ford's President of the Americas, said that the automaker is committed to improving the connectivity options in its vehicles, adding that by and large, customers enjoy the features. So far, it

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Sync first showed up in 2007, when it was offered as a $395 option in the 2008 Ford Focus. Since then, the Sync system has gone on to find a home in nearly all of Ford and Lincoln's vehicles. The infotainment system has helped raise the average transaction price of Ford vehicle sales, and, after installing the three millionth system, there appear to be no signs of a Sync slowdown.

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Drivers of late-model Ford vehicles equipped with Sync Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI) will soon be able to plot out their routes using Google Maps on their home computer and then download turn-by-turn directions directly to the car. TDI is a recent addition that adds a GPS receiver which allows Sync equipped cars and trucks to provide directions even if the vehicle doesn't have the full map based navigation system in place.

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Ford's victory with Sync isn't contestable – the connectivity system has a 70-percent uptake rate, and 32 percent of people list it as one of the reasons they bought a Ford. Over one million Sync-equipped vehicles have been sold in three years. The Blue Oval's exclusive deal with Microsoft ended last year and other Microsoft-powered in-car competitors will be arriving soon, so Ford has been busy working on new elements that it hopes will keep Sync in front of the challengers.

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Hyundai Equus – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Ford and Microsoft, sittin' in a tree... right, you know the rest. With the official October 22nd launch of Windows 7 right around the corner, the Blue Oval has reportedly pledged to support the Washington-based software company's new operating system however it can.

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Ford and Microsoft debuted SYNC at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show, updated the system at last year's event and now keep the tradition alive with more enhancements for 2009. The next iteration of SYNC will sport new features able to take full advantage of a user's GPS-enabled bluetooth smartphone.

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Ford's SYNC system is winning friends left and right, with CNET giving it the nod as Coolest New Car Tech and The Detroit News calling it "the best $395 option of 2007". Sales of the Ford Focus, in which the system debuted, are up 22.5% this year, despite the car's iffy redesign. According to Ford, consumers are choosing to add SYNC to their cars two to one over those who skip it, and Microsoft, which supplies the software to run SYNC, has noticed this popularity. The software giant from Redmond

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The mousetrap and mouse are locked in a constant battle for supremacy. The same is true with laws prohibiting texting while driving and the drivers who simply must text behind the wheel. Enter the capitalists: Microsoft and Nuance. Nuance makes voice recognition software and, combined with the Microsoft Sync system available in many Ford models, the driver would be able to dictate a text message to the car, and perhaps eventually do the same with e-mail.

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Ford is touting SYNC's popularity at CES, where attendees voted to give the technology the CNET People's Voice Award, while Popular Mechanics magazine gave SYNC their Editor's Choice award.

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