Friday, November 9, 2007

Ford--Microsoft Sync

One of the cases that I have enjoyed teaching over the years is GM OnStar. I have written several version of the case over the years. Recently, I have resorted to using the website to get the students (and executives) to get a feel for the offering and then discussing the strategic challenges of competing in a network era using OnStar as a case in point. The videos provide a good overview of the features for the student to get a good working understanding of the offering (more than perhaps reading a dry case!).
The discussions invariably turn to competitive reactions and responses. Ford created a joint venture with Qualcomm a few years back called Wingcast but that did not last too long. Recently, Ford and Microsoft have joined together to create Sync.

Sync is available on a wide range of Ford model automobiles in 2008.

Here's a good review of Sync by Walt Mossberg of Wall Street Journal.

I am looking forward to the next opportunity to discuss telematics as an example of the network era with interesting developments from auto companies such as GM and Ford. In addition, there is a lot of excitement in the telematics space with Nokia acquiring Navteq for over $8 billion. Garmin and Tom Tom are bidding in the $3 billion-plus range for TeleAtlas. The business networks are evolving and morphing in important ways--which make this a challenging arena to examining the nuances of competing and succeeding in a network era.

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