Ford buys software company

The Ford Motor Company has revealed that it has acquired Livio, a software development start-up, for less than $10 million (around £6.2 million) in a bid to improve its in-car connectivity offerings.

The buyout, its first acquisition of a technology company in around 13 years, of the Ferndale, Michigan-based Livio now means that new Ford cars are set to have better connectivity with smartphones, which in turn will help further the development of new in-car apps.

Paul Mascarenas, Chief Technical Officer and Vice President for Ford Research and Innovation said in a statement, “With the additional expertise Livio provides us, Ford intends to continue to lead the next generation of in-car connectivity with technology advancements that give consumers more options to access their devices on the go.”

The acquisition is timely, with the connected-car market recently; research has shown that in 2012 over 1.9 million cars were delivered with smartphone integration services, and that is expected to increase to 21 million cars by 2018.

The partnership between Ford and Livio will now look to standardise the way customers connect their smartphones to their vehicles.

Jake Sigal, Livio Chief Executive Officer, added, “We believe this partnership is an excellent match, as it will give us the ability to work with Ford to provide customers even more access to new technologies in the vehicle infotainment space.”

Livio, despite being wholly owned by Ford, will keep its name and will continue to cater for its existing customers, which include other automakers, suppliers and third-party software developers.

Ford has long been dedicated to vehicle connectivity and launched its groundbreaking SYNC system in 2007. In 2011 the car firm reached a milestone by building its three millionth SYNC-equipped car.

Ford is now expecting to have over 14 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on the road worldwide with its new Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and other makes set to come with the technology as standard.

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