Open Source versus Microsoft: The next battlefield

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The competition between Microsoft and Open Source software reaches into the automotive space with the announcement of a new alliance amongst automakers and technology providers called Genivi. The goal of the alliance is to build a Linux stack that will provide a common architecture for automotive infotainment systems.

At the same time, Microsoft announces version 4.0 of its own automotive platform, on which Ford's Sync and Fiat's Blue & Me systems are based. The new Microsoft platform now supports Intel chip architecture and includes what Microsoft calls "common head unit funcationaliy", meaning the platform comes with standard modules for integrating CD playback and ripping, along with other applications. Version 4.0 supports a common voice command structure that works for typical car applications such as navigation and Bluetooth cell phone integration, so users won't have to go back to a top-level tree structure to issue commands for different in-car applications.

Both Genivi and the Microsoft Automotive platform intend to make it easier for automakers and equipment makers to integrate support for devices such as cell phones and MP3 players by offering common connecitivy solutions, speeding up development of automotive infotainment systems, and making mid-cycle updates easier, so car electronics can keep up with the fast-moving world of consumer electronics.

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