The rapidly shrinking US auto market has left automakers scrambling for any way to differentiate their products from the competition, and the fastest way to get the job done is with technology. Microsoft is all too aware of this, and the tech giant is betting big on automotive to give itself a larger presence in a rapidly growing field. Microsoft has increased both staffing and funding by 30% in an effort to get in on the connectivity and infotainment ground floor. Sync has been Microsoft's crowning achievement in the automotive space to date, with over 200,000 units sold so far and 1 m expected by the end of 2009. Though Ford owns Sync branding rights, Microsoft will be able to peddle the inexpensive system to other automakers in 2009. Microsoft's "Live Search" technology is also available to automakers, and it will spawn in-car systems that allow drivers to search for nearby businesses.
Since every other aspect of our lives is now interconnected, it makes sense for cars to follow the trend. Whether you love the Microsoft or hate it, having the 800-pound gorilla in the automotive realm is a good thing. We just hope we won't have to worry about a blue screen of death plaguing our family wagon.

[Source: Detroit News]

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