According to Bloomberg, Ford Motor Co. (F - Analyst Report) is planning to use BlackBerry Ltd.’s (BBRY - Analyst Report) QNX operating system in the new version of its Sync in-car communication and entertainment system, instead of Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT - Analyst Report) Windows, which it uses currently. The shift is being induced by numerous reported malfunctions in Ford’s current technology systems and touch screens.
In-car communication systems are increasingly becoming deciding factors for consumers’ car purchases, according to a study by Accenture plc (ACN - Analyst Report). As a result, Ford is not faring well in consumer surveys conducted by J.D. Power & Associates and Consumer Reports. The automaker’s Ford and Lincoln brands occupied the 26th and 27th positions, respectively, in Consumer Reports’ survey on 28 brands, which was released in Oct 2013.
As a result, Ford is seeking a change in the operating system used by Sync. As QNX and Microsoft are the most popular operating systems used in cars, a shift to QNX seems the obvious choice. BlackBerry had acquired the QNX Software Systems in 2010 for a consideration of $200 million.
QNX is used in the Audi and BMW cars at present. It is also used in nuclear power plants and unmanned aerial drones.
According to Bloomberg, QNX will not only cost less than Microsoft but also provide better speed and flexibility to Ford’s Sync system. Currently, the Microsoft-based Sync system is operative in over seven million Ford vehicles.
The company posted earnings per share of 31 cents (excluding special items) in the fourth quarter of 2013, flat year over year. However, the automaker surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 28 cents.
Revenues in the quarter grew 3.6% to $37.6 billion, exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $35.47 billion. The improvement was attributable to increased wholesale volumes in the automotive business.
Ford currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).