Sunday, March 9, 2008

Turn Left in Five Hundred Feet...And Now A Word From Our Sponsor

I don't even like it when the "DJ" on satelite radio chimes in to tell us that the last artist finally did enter rehab let alone my navigation system saying "please turn left at the Wendy's where you can get two 'Big and Juicy's' for the price of one if you stop in now."

One can imagine accidents being attributed to a minivan full of kids exiting the highway across three lanes after hearing a position-oriented ad on their automobiles telematics system:

"Don't miss out! The Cub foods, 500 feet on the right, has fresh, frozen, succulent King Crab on sale, only $2.99 per pound for the next ten minutes!"

The software giant from Redmond has pretty big plans for its Automotive Business Unit beyond supporting Ford's SYNC system, and hopes to give its software system "daily relevance" within five years by networking infotainment systems with each other. A local search function, for instance, could offer multiple possible routes based on up-to-the-minute information gathered from the network.

All of these upgrades need to be paid for somehow, and Martin Thall, the General Manager of Microsoft's Automotive Business Unit, has suggested that they may integrate advertisements into the infotainment system as opposed to charging subscription fees like General Motors does with its OnStar service. After all, you hear ads on your radio and pass by billboards every time you get in your car, right?

I see Microsoft coming, and I say no thanks.

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