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Why your next Ford car may run on BlackBerry, not Microsoft, software

BlackBerry(s bbry) isn’t quite done yet. The beleaguered handset maker may find some new life as Ford is reportedly considering using BlackBerry’s QNX software in cars, according to Bloomberg sources. Ford(s f) currently has more than 7 million vehicles that use Microsoft’s(s msft) Sync technology, so any change would be a blow to the Redmond company.

BlackBerry’s QNX software, which it acquired in 2010, is already inside cars made by BMW and Audi. The company has been maturing QNX in cars for the past few years. Microsoft Sync is used by various automakers, but Ford is the biggest adopter of Microsoft’s technology. The timing of a potential change is perfect for BlackBerry because the connected car market has been slowly building as consumers adopt smartphones; it’s a bit of a lagging adoption as the in-car systems use smartphones for apps, media and connectivity. Now that smartphone adoption is peaking in the U.S., for example, I’d expect connected car demand to start rising at a quicker pace.

While it’s a long shot of an idea, I can’t help but wonder if getting QNX in millions of cars could do anything for BlackBerry’s handset business. I don’t mean the current BlackBerry 10 devices; I’m thinking of future efforts. If BlackBerry could rework its handset software to work best with a QNX-powered vehicle — provided it could get third-party developers on board, of course — could it sway consumers to give the company another chance in the smartphone market? It’s a long shot, but worth thinking about.

Regardless of phones, BlackBerry could add millions to its bank account through a deal with Ford. And if the company can prove that QNX provides a superior in-vehicle experience with Ford, plenty of other big automakers might take notice, adding further opportunities for BlackBerry to stage a comeback of sorts.

5 Responses to “Why your next Ford car may run on BlackBerry, not Microsoft, software”

  1. Chuck Dotson

    It looks like Blackberry’s acquisition of QNX may become something like the reverse acquisition that eventuated from Apple’s acquisition of Next. Blackberry may *only* be QNX in pretty short order.

  2. troystark

    Isn’t it strange how most big auto manufactures already use QNX, but it seems the author (like most people) is not aware of this? I don’t even think there are plenty of other big automakers to take notice of QNX, because most already use it –unlike the last paragraph suggests, QNX in the car is already the market leader.

  3. Come on Kevin how about mentioning that the whole GM OnStar platform since it’s inception in 1995 is based on QNX and then pretty much most other car head-end systems are as well. QNX has 65-70% or more of the whole smart car head-end market space and will for the foreseeable future.

    There is no way iOS or Android could do anything like what Blackberry QNX already offers with true multi-tasking, a real-time OS, AEC echo cancellation for hands free cellular calls and so much more.