Politico Reports: Ford’s announcement that its cars and trucks will arrive in 2023 with Google Maps and Assistant pre-installed was made by CEO Jim Farley. This partnership between the iconic American automaker and the global giant is a great example of the power and collaboration between the two companies. Research a chance to “reinvent the automobile” – turning it into an office on wheels with more connectivity than any smartphone or laptop. Farley, who announced the six-year agreement with the tech giant on CNBC, said that “we were spending hundreds, hundreds, and hundreds of millions each year, keeping pace with a fundamentally similar experience that wasn’t competitive for your phone.” Many tech experts have seen the Ford-Google car as the future differently. They are concerned that tech companies will soon tie their operating systems to specific products in order to dominate large swathes of the global market.
The smartphone wars have ended and Google and Apple are the winners. They – and Amazon, – now want to dictate how you use your car. They see cars as the next big opportunity for American consumers. Americans spend more time in their car than anywhere else, and they are the most used vehicle. After years of trying to integrate cutting-edge technology into their cars, carmakers are now eager to seek the assistance of Silicon Valley. They hope to adopt its technology and its lucrative business models, where consumers pay monthly for ongoing services, instead of paying for one product. Some policymakers and regulators see the battle for connected cars as an opportunity to prevent potential monopolies from forming, after having seen tech giants dominate the smartphone market.
In 2020, Google was sued by the state attorneys general for monopolizing online searches. They raised concerns about Google’s decision to switch to autonomous vehicles in their federal antitrust complaint. The EU competition authority opened an investigation into Google’s connected vehicle contracts in Europe. While Silicon Valley and the carmakers are excited about the future of connected and automated cars, regulators and privacy advocates are not so happy. Katharine Trendacosta, a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation digital civil rights group, stated that these companies possess a lot data about us that they shouldn’t have and have a history not using it responsibly. “They have a history that they have broken the promises about that data.”
He pointed out Google’s 2008 purchase of DoubleClick, which he later disavowed, to not combine data from its consumer products and its advertising services. According to the article, Herbert Slatery III, Tennessee Attorney General, complained that Google checked search results on Apple’s iPhones when smartphones started to take off last December. The same thing is happening on Apple’s iPhone. Voice and connected cars. It’s a very similar approach. An executive from an auto supplier that is competing with Google told Politico that Google already “coordinates everything through its system, and controls what information is released downstream.”
Jim Heffner (Vice President of Cox Automotive Mobility) adds, “Racing no longer is the point. Data is the foundation. Apple, Google, and other companies want to be the epicenter.”
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Amazon, an e-commerce mega-giant, is also interested in connected cars. This is both for the opportunity to reach consumers as well as for its own delivery needs. The company attempted to enter the smartphone market in 2014 with the Fire phone. This failed attempt to compete against Apple and Google. Fire was a commercial failure, but one aspect of the project survived and is now key to Amazon’s car ambitions.
Alexa Auto was initially a smartphone app that connected to the car via Apple Car Play or Google Android Auto. Accessing the car’s system through Apple or Google was limiting what Alexa could do, so Amazon began working directly with automakers to integrate their service into the car.