Ars technica: While car companies worry about how best to convince consumers about that extended warranty and consumers are trying to figure out which vehicle is fuel-efficient but doesn’t look like a toy, Microsoft has decided that the next best thing for your automobile is… search.
The software giant has announced it will be expanding its Automotive Business Unit (ABU) to include services in addition to software. Adding services to existing software solutions is part of a recent and much broader Microsoft effort, but that’s mostly been focused on Windows and Windows Live. The first automotive service is Microsoft Live Search for Devices (LS4D), which allows partners to develop web search applications for in-vehicle use.
LS4D can be added to Microsoft’s existing entertainment and information (infotainment) technology. Carmakers can choose choose among voice commands, an in-car screen, or both, to give drivers access to the Live Search engine in cars and other vehicles. Microsoft did not disclose which automakers have already jumped on LS4D, but those already on board with Microsoft include Fiat in Europe, Ford in North America, and Hyundai-Kia in Asian markets.