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Microsoft Steve Balmer gets pumped up about SYNC and his new Ford Fusion Hybrid, courtesy of Ford CEO Alan Mullaly, and in celebration of one million SYNC vehicles produced.  (Source: Autoblog)
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is thrilled to be getting his new Ford Fusion

In the realm of automotive sales, exclusive features often provide an important means of differentiating oneself from the competition.  GM has OnStar and Ford has its SYNC functionality, a hot feature which allows for the integration of mobile phones and portable media players with Ford vehicles among other things.  The feature was developed by software giant Microsoft in close collaboration with Ford, and is featured in many new Ford models, including the sleek and fuel efficient Ford Fusion hybrid.

The Ford and Microsoft partnership proved a match made in heaven and 80 percent of Ford's vehicles now feature the system.  An update is on the way as well which is set to add turn-by-turn uploadable directions and more to the SYNC interface. 

The system has been driving sales and has helped Ford likely be the only domestic automaker to avoid bankruptcy and government regulation.  As a special thank you to Microsoft, Ford delivered Microsoft CEO and Detroit native Steve Ballmer a pale blue 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid, the millionth vehicle produce with Sync onboard according to Autoblog.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally personally delivered the new car to Mr. Ballmer.  His purchase may have been largely a symbolic gesture, but the fun thing is Mr. Ballmer seemed genuinely excited.  Of course, this isn't entirely surprising -- the Fusion is a very well-designed vehicle, rated an impressive 41 mpg, with many users report much higher mileages thanks to the car's aggressive fuel-saving strategies.  Mr. Mulally pledged to "continue to innovate and expand the capability of SYNC by integrating even more new technologies that fit our customers' lifestyles."

Currently SYNC offers navigation and entertainment systems, and a feature called 911 Assist, which calls emergency services in the event of an accident (similar to GM's OnStar).

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By yacoub on 5/28/2009 3:03:45 PM , Rating: 5
That image is epic - do you have a link to a higher resolution version?

Steve Ballmer is amazingly animated and I'd love to see a larger version of that image.

RE: lol
By Smartless on 5/28/2009 3:07:54 PM , Rating: 3
So true. The only picture I can think of to compliment it would be the scene from that old movie Gung-Ho where Michael Keaton tries to drive off with the car that's missing some parts.

RE: lol
By SublimeSimplicity on 5/28/2009 3:10:28 PM , Rating: 5
He looks like he just won it on the "Price is Right"

RE: lol
By mondo1234 on 5/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: lol
By 67STANG on 5/28/2009 6:31:59 PM , Rating: 4
I'm sensing just a dusting of down syndrome in your post.

Do you honestly think that Ford, the only automaker not closing dealerships, is going to need bail out funds? Ford has everything working for them right now.

They are finally making high quality, attractive vehicles and are losing their "crappy car" reputation that's been following them since the mid 70's.

I would be quite suprised if Ford doesn't have runaway sales for at least the next 5 years while GM and Chrysler are restructuring.

RE: lol
By mondo1234 on 5/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: lol
By mondo1234 on 5/28/2009 8:08:49 PM , Rating: 5
Thanks again Jason...
Hate to reply to my own post, but it looks like Jason got us again with an inaccurate story.
As a special thank you to Microsoft, Ford is giving Microsoft CEO and Detroit native Steve Ballmer a pale blue 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid

Ford didn't "give" it to him, Mullaly "delivered" it to him. Balmer coughed up the cash for the car and the Ford CEO was kind enough to drop it off. Had Jason read the whole article he referred to, he would have seen under the "Press Release" the following
* Purchase by Microsoft CEO underscores positive partnership of two powerhouse brands, Ford and Microsoft, joining forces to deliver affordable products consumers want

RE: lol
By oTAL on 5/29/2009 6:11:01 AM , Rating: 5
I think it would look really good if DT gave this poster a 6.
He did correct an incorrect story. The article should be updated and a thank you note added.

Furthermore, measures should be taken to avoid repeating such mistakes in the future.

RE: lol
By arazok on 5/29/2009 9:09:42 AM , Rating: 5
Furthermore, measures should be taken to avoid repeating such mistakes in the future.

Does that mean you’re getting rid of Jason?

RE: lol
By Samus on 5/29/2009 4:31:10 PM , Rating: 3
Ford has been making pretty good cars since they got rid of Nasser. He destroyed the Taurus in 1995 and pretty much drove the company into the ground. They also lost marketshare superiority to GM during his reign.

But you have to consider Fords' success is also due to cross platforming (which they've been doing with Mazda since the 80's) and desegmenting markets (it's taken over 10 years to accomplish, but next year, the World Edition Focus will finally put us on-par with the European arm of Ford)

If you want to say "Big 6" thats fine, but Ford is significantly bigger than everybody else below them.

RE: lol
By 67STANG on 5/28/2009 8:34:15 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I do live in the world of the Big 3. You know, companies that fall into the same category and are always compared. Not really sure how the Japanese 3 are the same as the Big 3.... but then again, I guess that's because I don't get distracted by shiny objects.

Again, apples and oranges. I'm talking about the Big 3, not foreign auto manufacturers. Sorry, that the obvious implicatoin wasn't crystal clear for you...

I'm certainly aware of Mullaly going to congress to secure a $9 billion credit line. Let's see, how much of that have they used.... Oh, that's right. $0.00. Care to guess how much they owe on $0.00 to tax payers?

You have to look at the plain facts. Many of the dealerships that are closing are defined as "under performing". That means most of these dealerships are in rural areas-- which lean towards buying American. If Chrysler and GM are even further away from the consumers, but Ford is around, who do you think will get the business?

It's obvious that common sense evades you. If you honestly think that a foreign auto manufacturer is going to pick up more of GM and Chrysler's slack than a domestic manufacturer, you're even more dense than I first suspected.

RE: lol
By mondo1234 on 5/29/09, Rating: -1
RE: lol
By 67STANG on 5/29/2009 12:38:23 AM , Rating: 3
Ahhh, the slip of keystroke makes your argument? I suppose that's a good Plan B for you.

Ford went to Washington to support the other domestic auto makers. They also (wisely) secured a $9 billion loan in an uncertain time when borrowing money is increasingly difficult. If you were in their spot, you would do the same. If they don't have to use it, then all the better. You know what? They likely won't have to.

GM and Chrysler are closing dealerships while Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, etc. are not because of corporate mismanagement, bland/boring vehicle design and UAW contracts that made it nearly impossible to turn a profit while remaining competitive. Ford would be in the same position had they not gotten extremely lucky, deciding to restructure prior the current financial mess we are in.

Clear enough?

RE: lol
By CZroe on 5/29/2009 3:08:15 AM , Rating: 2
Also, wouldn't they likely have few dealerships in the areas where they aren't so popular in the first place?

RE: lol
By rudolphna on 5/28/2009 9:32:27 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, how about this. He is talking about Domestic Auto makers, not foreign brands for one thing. Next, $9b in line of credit is NOT a bailout, its asking for just that, credit in case conditions worsen. And Ford has been building much higher quality cars for the better part of the last decade, I would say at least since 2003, more so since 2006. Ford isn't only selling Trucks and SUVs now, though they do still sell them; as do honda, toyota, and nissan. Oil won't get to nearly the price it was before. I think it is predicted it will settle somewhere between $2.50 and $2.75 which they actually say is a pretty healthy place for it to be.

Its the whole "what goes up must go down" thing. The price of oil dropped phenomenally far, and fast. What we are experiencing now is the "bounce back" effect. Also, I know plenty of people who had previously refused to buy Fords, now seriously considering a Fusion, a mustang, an edge or etc. They are seriously impressed, which is a very good sign. Oh and by the way, this car wasn't given away, he bought it. Alan only delivered it to him in person.

RE: lol
By mondo1234 on 5/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: lol
By 67STANG on 5/29/2009 2:12:07 AM , Rating: 4
Toyota is a domestic auto maker, manufactured in Kentucky.

I'll correct that for you:

Toyota is a foreign auto maker, with a manufacturing plant in Kentucky.

Ford shouldn't be giving away a vehicle if there is a chance they will come to the government in the future for funds

So Ford shouldn't spend $45k on giving away a vehicle, which obviously was for marketing their Sync technology? They should probably just stop all forms of advertising and close up shop. Yeah, that'll do it.

Back under the bridge with you.

RE: lol
By CZroe on 5/29/2009 3:14:14 AM , Rating: 3
Yup. What a silly argument. Is Ford a foreign automaker just because they have some manufacturing plants in other countries?

RE: lol
By Samus on 5/29/2009 4:34:53 PM , Rating: 5
My Focus was made in Mexico out of German parts. MASA to the moon!

RE: lol
By jconan on 5/29/2009 4:39:21 AM , Rating: 2
as of lately the price of oil has risen up to 2.87 for 92... it's only going up and maybe down a little but then up.

RE: lol
By Spuke on 5/29/2009 5:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
as of lately the price of oil has risen up to 2.87 for 92.
You mean the price of gas, right?

RE: lol
By Mitch101 on 5/29/2009 8:03:01 AM , Rating: 1
My Jet has cracking leather seats. I'm so embarrassed by the duck tape on the seats. I need money to buy seat covers for my Jet.

RE: lol
By Mitch101 on 5/29/2009 12:45:52 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe its a bit dated for some but its from the movie THE JERK

RE: lol
By Noya on 5/28/2009 6:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
Especially considering domestics are all they give away on 'The Price is Right'.

RE: lol
By Brandon Hill on 5/28/2009 3:13:08 PM , Rating: 5
High rez photo gallery of the event:

RE: lol
By randomposter on 5/28/2009 3:14:09 PM , Rating: 5
I hope the seats are well bolted down

RE: lol
By Bender 123 on 5/28/2009 3:21:04 PM , Rating: 3
Fire up the photoshop and paste the "toungue" picture on his body, move him closer to the car and have the toungue licking it...That would be the stuff of nightmares.

RE: lol
By Doormat on 5/28/2009 3:23:45 PM , Rating: 5
He just found out that the seats are removable for easy throwing.

RE: lol
By Doormat on 5/28/2009 3:24:23 PM , Rating: 2
Damnit, I didn't read all the responses before posting! Someone beat me to that joke. Sorry.

RE: lol
By xphile on 5/30/2009 7:46:16 PM , Rating: 3
I thought Mullaly just told him:

"If she stops at the lights just hit Ctrl Alt & Delete and she'll restart every time!"

RE: lol
By arazok on 5/28/2009 3:26:20 PM , Rating: 5
The expression on his face and his stance make it look like he’s going for a knife kill.

“I’m a billionaire, you think I want this POS?! Baaaahhhh!”

RE: lol
By mingocr83 on 5/28/2009 3:51:53 PM , Rating: 5
Here is the youtube video

Ballmer is a funny guy!

RE: lol
By nitrous9200 on 5/30/2009 7:42:48 PM , Rating: 2
It says 'video has been removed by user'.

RE: lol
By CZroe on 5/29/2009 3:16:55 AM , Rating: 3
Click it.

RE: lol
By callmeroy on 5/29/2009 9:57:19 AM , Rating: 2
As an aside, the Ford Fusion is a pretty nice car -- one of my brothers got one, his isn't the new hybrid ones though...his is 2 or 3 years old. Still very nice, drives well, comfortable...etc.

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