The Presumptive Operating Systems Take the Back Seat with Ford


As I was skimming through the headlines this evening, this one quickly caught my eye:

Ford CEO refuses to let Apple and Google take the wheel

Wow! The tone! Who is demanding of Ford’s CEO that they let Apple and Google take the wheel?
And who is presuming that they should, and feeling entitled to this throne behind Ford’s wheel?
I had to click it and …

oh, of course. Cult of Mac.
It begins like this:

Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto are the two hottest options right now for car infotainment systems, but if you’re hoping that Ford will give you a pure CarPlay experience in one of their upcoming vehicles, you might as well keep on waiting for the mythical Apple Car.

A “pure” CarPlay experience must mean that the automobile would basically be an iPhone on wheels and will only interface to Apple devices, and will only interface to gas pumps at Apple gas stations that will only accept Apple Pay.

Because the Ford Sync system, now that BlackBerry’s QNX has the wheel, pretty much has the infotainment, navigation, voice control and calling features working quite well without your help Apple and Android, thank you very much. And of course it will also run CarPlay (and Android Auto) so the Mac Cultists can listen to their iTunes and have those familiar app iCons on the screen so they will feel secure. Also because, in Ford CTO Raj Nair’s words:

“We want to make sure you are not pushed into a decision on a $40,000 car based on your $200 smartphone”

So yes these OS’s that feel that they should be steering the car will have to take a back seat, and will remain secondary systems, running on top of BlackBerry’s custom QNX solution for Ford.

Previously Ford had let Microsoft have a stab at it, and after it nearly destroyed Ford for the consumer, they learned their lesson about leaving this critical feature of the automobile of the connected generation in the hands of a company that doesn’t specifically design for automobiles. QNX, being scalable and customizable turned out to be a far better choice for a company that had to maintain control of it’s internal electronic systems, as it could be adapted to it’s needs and integrated with the automobile at a lower level, allowing even things like real physical controls to be integrated, rather than completely relying on a touchscreen. This allows control of systems by feel while your eyes remain on the road, just like the old days of twisty knob pushbutton radios and is easier to manipulate on bumpy roads.


You can read about that drama and failure here:

Why Microsoft lost Ford Sync: Too costly, too slow, and too hard to use

And this is very wise, because Ford’s CEO Mark Fields feels that offering hardware without custom-built software is a recipe for being unprofitable. In other words, control is relinquished to the whims of Apple or Google, rather than remaining in house where it belongs.
So sorry big guys, but BlackBerry will be driving Ford for a long time to come. If you’re a Ford fan AND and Apple fan I don’t know what to tell you, other than maybe you can just sit at the curb and wait for that Apple Car.

Read about Ford Sync 3 here:

First Touch: We Sample Ford’s Sync 3 Interface and It Doesn’t Suck

Meanwhile I can’t wait for my next BlackBerry powered Ford Mustang!!


I am a long time BlackBerry user and fan. Beginning with the 7520, I have recognized the value of subtle productivity enhancements in BlackBerry devices for business communication and have never since strayed. Even when the iPhone took the market by storm, I was unimpressed, because it did nothing to help my business needs. Currently enjoying my one handed dream phone, the Classic! BB10 with a toolbelt! Today I contribute to UTB whenever I feel that I can help enlighten someone on the benefits of using BlackBerry over any other platform.

  • emstardeluxe

    That quote about the relative costs of a vehicle and a phone really stuck out to me… it’s easy to lose perspective in the smartphone space! Good for Ford to make a stand!

    • bartron

      Agreed. It really puts things in perspective.

  • Zensen

    Ford going with QNX means no smartphone user will miss out since it’ll still connect to your ios, windows, BlackBerry and Google phone.

    Going with car play lessens those options and if I’m correct they need to overlay their own options to allow other phones to play nice. Sounds like a hacked on job to me.

  • razrrob

    Nice post Blackjack!
    I couldn’t resist the urge to troll Cult of Mac so here was my reply-

    “Wow, you folks seem to have missed the boat!

    While QNX may be owned by BlackBerry, it handles Apple phones, android phones, and Windows Phones in addition to BlackBerry – can CarPlay do that?

    If QNX is good enough to run nuclear power plants and nuclear submarines, oh and runs Audi, Volkswagen, and BMW infotainment systems, why shouldn’t Ford be using it too?

    This is a system that has many key partners- not some walled-off garden

    Finally, you should be aware that Apple just happens to be a ‘Strategic Partner’ with QNX

    UPDATE: It would appear that Cult of Mac did not approve of my inflammatory comment

    It seems that Cult of Mac and Cheese came to their senses and posted my comment

    • Anthony

      I think it’s okay if some iSheep believe their iToys won’t connect to QNX based infotainment systems. Make them sweat. locco_smiley_39

    • bartron

      I’m not at all surprised Cult Of Mac deleted your post. It’s a garbage site, like almost all Apple fan sites. iFans love the smokescreen that Apple is blowing in their faces, and they don’t want anybody blowing it away with the truth.

  • Anthony

    It looks like you Photoshopped Geller’s head into the picture. locco_smiley_35

    • Blackjack

      Yes, next time I might use the back of his head instead of his face so it’s not so obvious….

  • skeezo

    Great article! Glad Ford making a stand on this. I’m so sick and tired of Apple and the iCult thinking of trying to monopolize everyone’s lives with all these Apple centric products and services. F* that.

    • Blackjack

      Thanks Skeezo and Amen, I love the slap in the face that Ford has dealt to these entitled ******s!

  • Azensun

    Well written, Blackjack!

    It’s refreshing to see this stance by a high profile CEO. And having QNX power the connectivity in my vehicle? No brainer. I’ve used the first gen Sync in my car for the past five years, and have gotten pretty spoiled with it. My next vehicle will likely be from Ford due in large part to this decision by Mr. Fields.