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May 07, 2008

Microsoft, Hyundai-Kia Team to Develop New In-Car Infotainment System

By Raju Shanbhag, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Seeking to introduce a new dimension for in-car entertainment, Microsoft (News - Alert) has entered into an agreement with Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group (HKAG) to co-develop the next generation of vehicle infotainment systems.

With this agreement, both companies are expected to provide new solutions based on the Microsoft Auto software platform and bring the future of in-car technology to Hyundai-Kia drivers worldwide. The Microsoft Automotive Business Unit is a dedicated partnering with companies in the auto industry, providing technologies and flexible software platforms to help deliver simple, more reliable and cost-effective in-car infotainment systems.
The companies will initially introduce a new infotainment system that enables voice-controlled connectivity between mobile devices. The system will be introduced to the North American market in 2010, and later will be rolled out in Asia and Europe with multimedia and navigation device enhancements.
This infotainment system will be upgradable in the same way that PCs are. Customers purchasing the solution will be able to upgrade with new features later on.
Microsoft is seeking to increase its presence in the Asian car market specifically and in the global automotive market more generally. To achieve this goal, the engineering and marketing teams of Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit in Redmond, Washington, will be working directly with companies at HKAG in Seoul. Currently, Microsoft Auto-powered systems are available in Fiat Auto Group vehicles in Europe and South America and Ford Motor Company vehicles in North America.
The agreement was signed in Seoul with Bill Gates (News - Alert), chairman of Microsoft, and Mongku Chung, chairman of HKAG, attending as the deal was finalized by Martin Thall, general manager of Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit, and Hyun Soon Lee, president and chief technology officer of HKAG.
In a related announcement, involving the Institute for Information Technology Advancement (IITA), both Microsoft and Hyundai-Kia agreed to co-establish an automotive IT innovation center. This center will promote innovation and opportunities for Korean software and device vendors in the global market.
Raju Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Raju’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

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