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).