With Apple’s iOS In The Car And Google’s Projected Mode, Microsoft Trailing behind Apple And Google In Yet Another Market

Bringing smart technology inside the cars for infotainment is not a new innovation in 2014. Microsoft did it years back with its Windows Embedded in cars from Ford and others. Microsoft provided the platform for auto maker to build on and they were quite successful. In the era of smartphones, consumers are expecting more from their infotainment systems in their cars. Instead of trying to create a new platform for automobiles and expect developers to write applications for it, Apple and Google are going the other way around. They are trying to use the smartphone as the primary system with car’s infotainment system that will act like a thin client.

For example, Apple’s iOS in the car will use car’s display to show a new UI of iOS optimized for driving experience will let drivers get access to Apple Maps, music, videos, Siri, voice calls, text dictation and more. Apple has signed up automakers like Honda/Acura, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan/Infiniti, Ferrari, Chevrolet/Opel, Kia, Hyundai, Volvo and Jaguar for this integration and they are about to make an official announcement on roll-out soon.

Apple’s VP of software & services said the following during iOS in the car announcement,

“the bigger opportunity for Apple and its ecosystem is becoming essential not just for people texting, checking news, watching movies, and playing games, but for massive growth areas such as transportation, home automation, and health care,”

Google on its part announced Open Automotive Alliance, the OAA is a global alliance of technology and auto industry leaders committed to bringing the Android platform to cars starting in 2014. Just like they did for Android with Open Handset Alliance they are trying to make Android a default OS in all the cars. Their founding partners include Audi, Hyundai, Honda, GM and more.

We’re dedicated to accelerating innovation in the car with an approach that offers openness, customization and scale. We believe that a common platform will help drive innovation, and make technology in the car safer and more intuitive for everyone.

A recent job listing from Daimler, the company that makes Mercedes-Benz revealed another Google’s auto project called Projected Mode that will be integrated into all Mercedes-Benz cars in the future. Google’s Projected Mode is similar to Apple’s iOS in the car where vehicle’s controls and displays will be integrated with Android smartphone allowing drivers to get access to text messages, directions, and more.

Microsoft has a platform for automakers called Windows Embedded Automotive 7 which is an extensible technology platform for automakers and suppliers to deliver in-car experiences that keep drivers connected and informed. Windows Embedded Automotive 7 is a great platform, but automakers barely make use of it other than providing few basic functionalities. Also, developers have very little interest in creating apps for another platform. The main issue is, Microsoft does not have a program like iOS in the car or Projected Mode that will allow car makers to integrate with Windows Phone devices using their existing technology in their cars.

I think Microsoft is losing yet another opportunity/market even though it came too earlier than others. People buy cars which costs more than $20000 in average, and they expect their smartphone to fully integrate with it. People may try to switch smartphone platforms for their cars because it costs just $600 for a brand new smartphone that works great with their cars, but not the vice versa of buying a brand new car for $20000 that integrates with their smartphone. Windows Phone users may soon realize it when Apple’s iOS in the car and Google’s Projected Mode project goes live soon.

I think Microsoft should act quick and fix their strategy around the Automotive space. It’s not just about the platforms anymore, it is the whole eco-system. What do you think?


  • Duk3togo

    Pradeep, did you forget about “project Detroit” this was intended for linking all MS product services.

  • Liquid55

    “quite”, not “quiet”….and I won’t buy a car with either Google or Apple embedded anything.

    • Davey

      You may not get a choice soon.

      • David

        you always have a choice. And plus there are companies like Ford that using Microsoft technology. If they continue work together and improve Sync they have one of the bests in Market. I have sync in my car and I am telling you it is way more advance and better than many other cars. Microsoft and Ford just have to work together better and more close to bring it to net level. And there are also other companies that already using Microsoft software too. They have to act fast? Yes and they have to go after more companies. Lacking behind because of technology? No. They are actually ahead of others.

        • heiner

          Sync actually sucks. BMW used to use CE for their iDrive until it proved too unreliable and they switched to vxworks………

          • John

            You probably never used SYNC on new Ford cars or you are just here to troll. Sync actually pretty cool and works great on all new Ford cars. Lots of features and get the job done. I have it and using it everyday in my car for Phone, Music, CLimate, Navigation and works just fine and actually very good.
            If BMW had problem with their iDrive then perhaps the problem was their own software team that not able to program and provide a great exprience.
            And Oh here is a bonus for you: Their main problem is the name they picked: iDrive. Everybody knows that whatever starts with letter “i” is just a toy and should not expect much from it. iPhone a phone taht can’t make a proper call. iPad a tablet taht you can play games and can’t do any work on it. iDrive well go figure…
            But lets forget about joke and laughs here.
            Sync on Ford doesn’t do anything with iDrive on BMW and SYNC actually works really good and way far from being suck.

          • mrwufpack

            On 2/24, Bloomberg had an article saying that Ford will be dropping MS for Sync and using Blackberry’s QNX instead. While I disagree with the commenter that Sync “sucks,” it has not kept pace with the advancements that Apple is making with CarPlay, or Google’s Projected Mode.

    • Guest

      Problem is you and I are a minority.

  • jaylyric

    I agree in that Microsoft needs to act quickly. They are usually VEEEEERY slow. I want Windows Phone to continue with the tremendous growth and adoption that it has been gaining and not repeat what happened with Windows Phone in the first place,being late to the game. Come on Microsoft,out of all three of you,you have a bigger opportunity for a total ecosystem.

  • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

    Hmm. I think not. All Microsoft has to do is go for both “markets”. There is going to be a percentage of consumers who may not go that extra mile to connect their iPhone or Droid to their car even if they have the functionality. What happens when you have either lost or damaged your mobile device or someone with a feature phone borrows your car? Your car automatically becomes impotent?. Hmm no, not a desirable system. I’ll make the platform for the car with all the bells and whistles, a full Xbox music system with “Zune like” album art slideshows and a WiFi sync system BUT also do what Apple and Google is doing. This way more people will have the system in their car as well as their apple and google device and the potential for Cortana to directly compete with siri or Now in people’s hands. These mobile apps should mimic their onboard car screen experience. The car should be the 4th screen and Microsoft will do well to go after the aftermarket manufacturers.

    • Guest

      Please do not mention Zune, we want people to want it. :(

      • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

        Zune the device perhaps, but the Zune software was always considered leaps and bounds better than iTunes

        • Guest

          Except for a very few technology geeks, they are both one of the same which in is a failure that no one wants. Sad but true :(

          • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

            I’m not following your thought patterns here. What people think about the software/device that I’m using as a design precedent diminishes my point in the least. The Zune software had the best music experience on any platform, mobile/desktop or car. It being a failure in the market is quite irrelevant. Imagine we used success only to define what precedents we used. VLC is a beloved software to many, mine as well, but by hell I’m going to want that software design anywhere else, much less my car. Hell, I dint even mention the UI, just the playback experience. I specifically like how on the 360, in a playlist if you have the video for the song it plays the video instead.

          • Guest

            As much as you want to babble about Zune, the only thing people hear is “here is another failed MSFT” product” and no one cares.

            Dude my Grandpa thought Beta was better the VHS, but when a platform fails, it’s dead. I am just telling you not to be that idiot in the corner whining about some dead platform being better that no one cares about. You don’t want to be that sad pathetic guy.

          • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

            Whoa, wait. You think I want Zune back? Did you just see the word Zune and saw red? Calm down for a sec and re-read what I said. I didn’t want Zune back all I wanted was this 1 feature which was the best feature it had, placed into their ar solution. why is that so difficult to agree with? Because Zune was considered a failure I would be remiss to say it had some good things about it? That’s a strange way to think.
            We were having a good discussion up until you started name calling.

          • Guest

            Dude I suspect your “Myspace” page had a good feature or two but I do not want it in my Ferrari. Give it up and stop trying to justify a failure with a good feature or two. It takes more then that for a technology to matter.

            And once a brand is soiled as bad as Zune was, it is best leave that diaper fill alone no matter how much you think that stink smells like a rose,

          • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

            You are beyond reasoning. As you were.

          • Guest

            Dude you still talking about your Myspace page? You gone from confused to pathetic. Just let your Zune obsession go otherwise you will end up sounding a sad and nostalgic as butt hurt Ballmer since he got the “polite” heave-ho. :(

          • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

            MySpace page? are you confused what we are talking about? and what I’m saying. why do you think I’m obsessed with Zune? I’ve never owned one. I have only used the Desktop software which was the only thing good about it.

          • Guest

            Thanks for finally seeing the light and admitting the product was crap. I am glad I could help you come to your senses. Now it is time for you to move on from “MySpace”. That is a bigger loser-ville then Facebook which is only for old white women itself.

          • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

            What? you actually thought just because I like 1 lone feature of a device/service that I am automatically like and support the entire product. What is wrong with you? All I want is the playback feature as it exists, on Window Phone, Xbox and the Desktop. They took that from the Zune and brought it there. I just hoped they continued the trend. If you can equate that to praising the entirety of Zune then you either lack basic reading and comprehension skills or have been delusional during this entire discord.
            Oh and Facebook as great as it is, is a social Network based on MySpace. so that analogy is ridiculous.

          • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

            “You are right, once it id a failure we should discard all of it. even the good parts because the consumer base would scorn it. Palm OS failed and its a good thing its multitasking features weren’t copied because by god, if we used a feature from a failed product it’ll be doomed.”
            You are beyond reason. As you were.

  • 1stkorean

    Microsoft has been in cars for years…search Microsoft Sync. Furthermore I don’t want anything apple tim cook and apple are just as dead as steve jobs and I surely don’t want google in the car with me.

    • LexiconRed

      The only question left for the already nostalgic Steve Ballmer is when he buys a new car if it’ll come with an Apple or Android dashboard.

  • deathdealer351

    The worst is even though they have sync. Its nothing more than a Bluetooth receiver for windows phone. You can do so much more with android and IOS on sync. So it just keeps moving the message. If you want the best Microsoft mobile experience its not on windows phone.

  • Willem Evenhuis

    In europe virtually no one knows microsoft sync. the market is just too small and probably only known in a few ford models. I think for microsoft it is not worth the investment of engaging in the sector of the economy. It they do I would advice to bet more on accessories for smartphones that could enhance the windows phone functionality in the car. I think microsoft needs to build and increase their consumer loyalty and listen to what they want, both to major, but also minor arguments. Once consumer loyalty and satisfaction increases, new costumers will arive by themselves. Nothing works better than mouth-to-mouth advertising, and best of all, its free!

    • Rikikrik

      Ford is implementing Sync in it’s cars in 2014 or 2015.

  • MarcSilverTriple

    The only reason why I always prefered to have an integrated GPS is that I didn’t have to care of having an mobile compatible with my car (as my wife can have a different one)… Will skip the added value car for the lowest range if it comes that way. Not sure the car manufacturer is making a win in this case: It has to be compliant with all devices, or I won’t buy.

  • benjitek

    They have a habit of doing something, then sticking with it while the rest of the world passes them by — like Pocket PC while iPhone and Android gobbled up the market. Apparently Sync is the same scenario :-(

    • http://lukeja.co.uk/ Luke

      But now apple is doing that by sticking to desktop while Microsoft is pushing touch. Also apple and google haven’t innovated much with the iPhone and android in the past few years, so they are doing exactly the same. That’s why Microsoft’s new CEO should be amazing for the company because he knows that you can’t ever stop innovating like Microsoft and Nokia have done in the past and like google and apple are doing now

      • benjitek

        You’re certainly entitled to your own >opinion< — thanks for stopping by to share it 😉

      • Guest

        Dude, it is one thing to be optimistic, it’s another to be a wack-job.

      • LexicoRed

        WTF are you talking about, seriously are you drunk? “Apple is sticking with desktops”…again WTF? You have not heard of a little thing called iPad?

        You must be trolling trying to make all MSFT look like idiots. Just stop!

  • Rikikrik

    Windows Embedded has excisted for some time now and powers not only cars infotainment. Windows Embedded Automotive is the software platform that auto manufacturers and suppliers such as Ford, Kia, Fiat, Nissan, Alpine and Paccar use to develop next-generation in-car infotainment systems in more than 80 vehicle models worldwide. It supports speech commands, touch input, hands-free Bluetooth phone connectivity, dashboard access to music and maps, third-party applications, and connections to a wide variety of portable devices. The software demands for infotainmentsystems is different in trucks when compared to cars.
    At the moment Microsoft is one of the leaders in this field. The interesting question is how compatible these Google and Apple’s infotainment systems will be with other devices and operating systems. If they are not compatible, they have a long way to go. Windows Embedded offers compatibility with other devices and operating systems. But with the technology (Windows 8.1 and Windows Embedded platform) that Microsoft commands and Microsoft’s experience with car infotainment, it will not be long before they develop a system that better caters to the car industry. Microsoft will catch up easily, because their position in this sector is totally different from the one pertaining to the tablet and smartphone market.

  • Nham Thien Duong

    ¿Why the hell is iO.S. in cars? ¿who wants that in cars? I think that’s just another sad marketing plot to sell overpriced products. (>_<)

    • VHMP01

      Imagine iMaps in car systems!!!

    • LexicoRed

      With around a billion iOS devices sold, one can be relatively sure there may be a few people who would want it in their car…

      Now regarding MSFT, I’m concern that we are finding our favorite company, as we did with the Window Mobile OS to WP OS, a little to little, and a little too late.

  • MS developer

    At some certain level at Microsoft they are screwing things completely up. Cars, Smart TVs, everything was completely foreseeable. But Microsoft did nothing, nothing!
    Then you see some cool stuff from Microsoft Research, but they never get it into a real product. I really hope the reorganization is making things better and is not just moving some chairs where some wrong people are trying to push their careers.

  • Rikikrik

    Other problems for Google and Apple, besides compatibility with different devices running different operating systems, are:

    1. Infotainment systems must be used across different countries, and regionalized or localized as necessary.
    2. Developing support for certain languages is not as simple as making a direct translation. For example Mandarin. With their subtle differences in pitch and accent, tonal languages like Mandarin are an unprecedented challenge for speech recognition engines used in infotainment systems. Add to that the built-in learning curve needed for speech recognition engines to generate conversational language. Using the smartphone as the primary system for car’s infotainment system has it’s limits when it comes to speech recognition in foreign languages.
    3. Infotainment systems have to adapt to some of the cultural nuances in different countries. For example, people in China prefer using landmarks as their point of reference, and street addresses are listed in reverse order from what is common in the U.S. Furthermore, under Chinese law it’s illegal for GPS to provide emergency responders with a person’s exact location. With these things in mind, the team redesigned and developed a navigation interface that would abide by government regulations while providing drivers with an interface that was easy to use.
    So developing good infotainment systems for cars are more challenging than one thinks. And Apple and Google will have a lot of work to do to catch up to the quality level that is desired for a good infotainment system. We all saw what happened when Apple tried to develop it’s own maps and navigation system. So it will take a while before Apple and Google can challenge Microsoft in this field.

    • Guest

      Those challenges are the same MSFT face so as much as you like your thoughts, in this case your point is mute.

      • Rikikrik

        MSFT has already faced these challenges. Sync is already developed for China (Mandarin) and a lot of languages in other countries, regions or localities. Sync is world wide.
        Sync is also compatible with other devices and operating systems. Carplay, the infotainment system of Apple is coupled to the IPhone and is not compatible with other systems or devices. It’s a scaled back system and not a full fledged infotainment system like those built on Windows Embedded.
        Speech recognition is also developed by country, language or region. Because Windows Embedded has excisted for ages, these challenges have been met. With Google and Apple systems we have to see if they are up to the job.
        Furthermore car manufacturers like Ferrarri are not replacing their own infotainment system for that of Apple. Carplay will be addtional or secondary to Ferrarri’s infotainment system. With Windows Embedded as a platform it’s different.

        • Guest

          Sync poor performance was major reason buyers rate Ford vehicles quality poorly in the US, so no cares if the product speak 52 languages if MSFT can not even get the basic UI working.

  • id10t

    I wouldn’t say MS is trailing as much as they are tweaking. A few weeks ago they showed the base for the space when Panasonic announced the FZ-E1 Embedded W8 Phone/Tablet. The ground work has been done for the next generation now it is a matter of tweaking it.

    I also think that we will see all 3 options available to car buyers. I don’t see the automotive industry pinning its sales to a single platform over the long term. It just wouldn’t be smart. I can see an option of picking the platform I want in a tablet type head unit that is interchangeable.

    As an example the F150 Pickup is the best selling truck in America not just because of consumer sales but because of fleet sales. If they choose OS-A and the fleet buyer is using OS-B Ford could be shooting themselves in the foot over the long term.

    As for the masses I don’t think they are going to pick a car based on the cool factor of the radio connecting/being the same OS to their phone. They will live with what they have because the vehicle looks or cost,

  • Rikikrik

    A video of Apple’s new infotainment system (named Carplay) in a Ferrarri has gone live. I have a few comments to make in regard to Apple’s system when compared to Windows Embedded.
    1. If you we’re to forget your Iphone on a car trip from Norway to Spain then you really would be left in the dark, because you would miss your favorite apps. Carplay only works in conjunction with your IPhone.
    2. Carplay does not replace the car manufacturers own infotainment system, I wonder why?? That’s a bummer for Apple and Google. Seems like car manufacturers do not want to ceed power, revenue and profits to the like of Apple and Google or do not trust the quality of these systems.
    3. Carplay is dependant upon the Iphone. Car manufacturers will have to cater to the needs or wants of their buyers, dependant on their smartphones. Not everyone will want a car with an IPhone or Android infotainment system.
    4. Carplay and the coming Android system are not compatible with other smartphones and devices, like infotainment systems built on the Windows Embedded platform. Windows Embedded is the infotainment software platform on which a lot of infotainment systems in cars and trucks are built. These systems are compatible with all smartphones and other devices. Microsoft is a world leader in this field building infotainment systems for Hyundai, Nissan, Fiat, Paccard, Ford etc. It seems that Windows Embedded still has the edge above these systems, since they do not replace the infotainment system of the car manufacturer. Pradeep stated that Microsoft might trail Apple and Google in this “new” market, but Microsoft has been in this market for ages. Google and Apple are late to the market.
    5. Carplay seems very secondary and cosmetic, since it does not replace the car manufacturers infotainment system. This may have to do with the fact that real car infotainment systems are more complicated than Carplay or the Android system. For example speech recognition in car infotainment systems is much more advanced than for example Siri. It’s not only a question of translation, but also of context, nuances,, tones, accents in languages etc. The quality of these systems like Carplay are no match for a real infotainment systems from car manufacturers. If Apple and Google really will conquer the infotainment sector for cars is questionable. Car infotainment systems are also customized for different countries, regions and localities when it comes to language and understanding what is said.
    We will see where these developments lead, but Microsoft has a global and leading role in developing real car infotainment systems and with the load of experience and software prowess that they possess, Microsoft should be able to wheather this challenge pretty easy. This market is in no way comparable to the tablet or smartphone market where they trailed Apple and Google by a wide margin.

    • Guest

      Yes but as we have seen over and over again MSFT is first to a market to be disrupted by better implementation of competing product; mobile phone, tablet computing, internet services, ect.


  • LexicoRed

    The truth is that if someone buying a Ferrari they are goon to be an iPhone owner.

    As much as I wish differently, only WP8 being sold is the cheapest budget models and the people buying these are not going to be buying any car soon, if ever.

  • NGM123

    Didn’t Ford just announce they are kicking MS to the curb?

  • arrow2010

    Microsoft is 2-3 years behind in every market, they can’t possibly catch up as Apple/Google will never let up.