Ford Leaves Microsoft For BlackBerry In Future SYNC Updates

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
ford leaves microsoft for blackberry in future sync updates

As automakers seek out technology partners for their on-board electronic devices, Ford is leaving Microsoft by the side of the road for a variant of BlackBerry’s QNX-based operating system in future updates to the Blue Oval’s long-suffering SYNC/MyFord Touch infotainment systems.

Road & Track and The Detroit News report the move would bring them in-line with Hyundai, Kia, BMW and Audi, all of whom already use the real-time embedded OS in a wide range of systems beyond infotainment, including driver assistance and active noise control. Chrysler’s UConnect System also uses QNX on its 8.4″ system, and is widely praised for its excellent user experience.

Though BlackBerry, QNX and Ford remain mum on the subject, Ford spokeswoman Susannah Wesley said the automaker would continue to work with Microsoft in spite of the impending move:

Ford works with a variety of partners and suppliers to develop and continuously improve our in-car connectivity systems for customers. We do not discuss details of our work with others for competitive reasons. We are absolutely committed to leading and innovating the smart technologies and in-vehicle connectivity that our customers want and value.

The Blue Oval’s infotainment systems have experienced the lash from Consumer Reports and J.D. Power & Associates as of late due to poor user experience, which also prompted the automaker to replace more of the systems’ touchscreen controls with physical in-car controls.

No word on when the QNX-powered systems will make their debut, though Ford made no mention of Microsoft or QNX during introductions of the 2015 F-150 and Mustang, nor was Microsoft brought up during the automaker’s 2014 CES appearances.

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  • Art  Vandelay Art Vandelay on Feb 23, 2014

    Should put the blackberry systems in Lincolns as Lincoln and R.I.M. are both dead brands walking.

  • Athos Nobile Athos Nobile on Feb 23, 2014

    Is it me or the car in the picture is a GM product. All the switch gear screams GM car (maybe Cadillac) to me.

  • Toxicroach Toxicroach on Feb 23, 2014

    I was writing pretty heated emails to Ford about the SYNC system. That whole mess was absurd, including how you couldn't even download the updates unless you had an outdated version of IE installed. That said, it has turned into a reasonably reliable system. By that I mean I only had to do a system wipe once in the past six months, versus the two or three times a week when I first got the system. So yeah, good for Ford. Don't fuck it up again.

    • Burgersandbeer Burgersandbeer on Feb 24, 2014

      "By that I mean I only had to do a system wipe once in the past six months, versus the two or three times a week when I first got the system." Having to do a system wipe is noteworthy. A coworker complains that every time the dealer tries to address a MFT problem, he loses all his contacts, presets, etc. So not only is it unreliable, but they don't have customer-friendly fixes either.

  • Dragonphire Dragonphire on Feb 24, 2014

    I am feeling pretty good about myself right now...why ..cause I called this on a tech site about six months ago. I am not a techie but a car guy that likes tech. When I mentioned that this would be the best fit for Ford I had over 40 responses calling me a fool...