By Craig Trudell and Jeff Green:

Ford Motor Co. (F), struggling with in-car technology glitches, will base the next-generation Sync system on BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY)’s QNX and no longer use Microsoft (MSFT) Corp.’s Windows, according to people briefed on the matter.

Using QNX will be less expensive than licensing Microsoft technology and will improve the flexibility and speed of the next Sync system, said the people, who declined to be identified because the decision hasn’t been made public. Ford has more than 7 million vehicles on the road with Sync using Microsoft voice-activated software to make mobile phone calls and play music.

Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally, who was said to be a candidate to become Microsoft’s CEO until early this year, has seen Ford slump in surveys by J.D. Power & Associates and Consumer Reports, with customers citing malfunctioning tech systems and touch screens. The second-largest U.S. automaker has said the quality of its vehicles have been “mixed” each of the past three years and fell short of its plan to improve those results in 2013.

Improving Sync is crucial for Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford to draw car shoppers who are increasingly looking to be connected at all times. In-vehicle technology is the top selling point for 39 percent of auto buyers, more than twice the 14 percent who say their first consideration is traditional performance measures such as power and speed, according to a study by the consulting firm Accenture released in December.

via Steven Sinofsky.

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