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Microsoft Cloud Transportation Windows

Microsoft Teams With Automakers To Put Windows, Office In Cars (microsoft.com) 196

An anonymous reader writes: Today Microsoft announced partnerships with several companies to bring Windows 10, Office 365, and Azure to cars. Volvo is having their Call Universal App integrate with Windows 10 smartphones and Microsoft Band 2 watches to let drivers interact with their cars. Harman, a company that builds infotainment systems, will allow drivers to access Office 365 services (while parked or while the car is driving itself). IAV, a similar company, will let users stream Windows 10 Continuum from their smartphone directly to a vehicle's dashboard. Finally, Nissan's LEAF and Infiniti models in Europe will run their telematics system on Azure. "The common thread between these announcements is that Microsoft is pitching Azure as an enabling platform, tossing in analytics and focusing on its core productivity strengths. Aside from the Microsoft Band 2 partnership with Volvo, Microsoft is taking an enterprise behind-the-scenes approach to the auto industry."
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Microsoft Teams With Automakers To Put Windows, Office In Cars

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  • a Volvo with Vista?
    • a Volvo with Vista?

      It would be even better if it were an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser [wikipedia.org], but, unfortunately, GM no longer makes them and Microsoft, as far as I know, no longer offers Vista.

    • by shione ( 666388 )

      Cue joke about your car stopping in the middle of the highway and needing to open and close your windows to get your car going again. haha

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by stooo ( 2202012 )

      Yep, and this will become the bitter reality :

      1. For no reason at all, your car will crash twice a day.

      2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you will have to buy a new car.

      3. Occasionally, executing a manoeuver such as a left-turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, and you will have to reinstall the engine.

      4. When your car will die on the freeway for no reason, you would just accept this, restart and drive on.

      5. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you boug

      • >13. You will press the 'start' button to shut off the engine.

        That's exactly how you turn off the engine in my wife's Hyundai. How did you know?

      • by jd2112 ( 1535857 )
        13. You will press the 'start' button to shut off the engine.
        I already do this. Technically, it's a 'start/stop' button, but I do this.
  • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @09:25PM (#51245231)

    First off, the entire idea of having a screen like that in any seat the driver can see is fucking idiotic and will cause crashes. But even ignoring that- I don't need my car to have a bunch of software that's always out of date and doesn't do what I want. If you're going to implement this, just let my phone screencast to it and take touch input from it.

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @10:02PM (#51245457) Homepage

      Don't worry, when the centre console fails it'll only cost you $1k or more to get it replaced. And seeing as how every car company out there also makes the entire thing responsible for important things like the heater controls and signal chimes, this is gonna be a real fucking mess.

    • I really like having Windows on my car, if it doesn't come pre-installed I'll be sure to install it. My old car had 8 Windows installed, three on each side and one on the front and back.

    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @11:19PM (#51245945)

      First off, the entire idea of having a screen like that in any seat the driver can see is fucking idiotic and will cause crashes.

      Automakers have really jumped the shark. Control surfaces used to be basically entirely tactile once one learned the basic layout, one could operate all of the usual features without looking at them. One could change the HVAC settings, the radio station, next/back on the CD, control the heated seats, set the cruise control, operate all of the accessories without looking at them once once was familiar enough with them. Now, with touchscreens, there are no longer unique-feeling buttons to become accustomed to. One has to take one's eyes off of the road in order to change music or to set the HVAC controls.

      This is completely insane. We wouldn't need so much lane-monitoring or collision-avoidance technology if people weren't forced to multitask on a computer in order to drive a car. Visual user interfaces beyond the passive feedback of speed, RPM, and characteristics of mechanical performance should be secondary, not primary. Primary should involve touch or speech to provide input and should use audio playback as the primary means of prompt or acknowledgement for all non-driving tasks that the car is capable of doing.

      My car plays a tone if I've left the keys in with the engine off or if I've left the lights on with the engine off when I open my door. My car plays a tone when the turn signal or the hazard lights operate. This particular car plays a tone if I've driven more than a quarter-mile with my turn signal operating. Some cars play tones if the speed exceeds a certain amount without seatbelts on, or if the gauges read too far out of tolerance, or if it activates an idiot-light, or if one tries to drive with a door not fully closed. I've even seen a few like a buddy's older Grand Cherokee that alerts the driver if it detects that an exterior lamp's bulb is not working. These indicators don't take a whole lot of the driver's attention while they're driving compared to having screens to read.

      • But now for no reason you can turn on the heater by having to press and hold a button on the Microsoft band then ask for the heater to be turned on. You, know, rather than the arduous task of simply turning a knob.

        Progress!

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Tesla cars only have touchscreen and stalk controls, yet don't seem to be any more accident prone than other makes. That's despite their ridiculous performance and near silent operation at low speeds.

        I think the key is the stalk controls. You can customise them to control anything you want, so you put say music and climate control there. Then you have tactile controls that you don't need to reach for and status displays either side of the speedometer.

        You need to look at the speedo in EVs, which is why the L

        • You need to look at the speedo in EVs, which is why the Leaf puts it right in your eye line. The usual audio feedback for speed isn't there.

          Most normal modern cars I've driven have very little audio feedback for speed already. If I didn't have a speedo I'd have a hard job knowing whether I'm going 50 or 100 mph on a motorway.

          I'm sure it's different if you're in a Ferrari or something.

    • First off, the entire idea of having a screen like that in any seat the driver can see is fucking idiotic and will cause crashes.

      It's a Microsoft product. Of course it will cause crashes. The good thing is, when your Microsoft Car crashes, just restart it and everything will be back to normal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @09:29PM (#51245249)

    It looks like you're trying to cause a 30-car pileup on the interstate. Would you like me to help?

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @09:30PM (#51245251)

    I keep my cars a lot longer than my computers.

    My car was built in 2003, the year the Pentium 4 (single core, 4GB max addressable memory) was released and WinXP was mainstream, but only 2 years old, maybe my car would have had Win98 or WinME.

    What are the chances that these "smart cars" will be getting software updates and have upgradable hardware. (and even if they do have hardware upgrades, will it be affordable? I replaced my old factory stereo with a new USB+MP3+Bluetooth+speakerphone player for $150 - the OEM AM/FM/CD-only replacement costs $500)

    Manufacturers of "smart cars" should be required to publish full programming and interface specs so third party manufacturers can release alternative hardware.

    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

      I keep my cars a lot longer than my computers.

      Oh, don't worry -- Office 365 will be in the cloud and kept current by MS.
      Of course your car may stop or lose vital features if you don't have internet access and can't confirm your MS login, but everyone is always connected, so it won't be a problem.

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @09:58PM (#51245433)

      Hmm an 06 corvette needs a map disc that's juuuuust 179.99 + 3.95 S&H and they dropped support and now the last map update came out in 2013... Good luck finding those roads from 2014 & 2015....

    • "It looks like you're trying to merge from a right lane doing 35 MPH into the left lane doing 80MPH. I can help with that! But the speed limit is only 70, so we're going to make sure you don't violate any traffic laws."
      • by steveg ( 55825 )

        My car's speed database maxes out at 74, but most western states have speeds of 75 on the freeway. And some have posted speed limits of 80 or 85.

    • I think that I am just going to have to make my 96 Honda Civic and my 98 Dodge 3500 Ram Van last forever.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Bluetooth audio and Mirrorlink should be mandatory. Then no matter what you will be able to upgrade the head unit, either by connecting your phone or by adding a little embedded system box.

    • by janoc ( 699997 )

      Well, considering that updating maps in the built-in satnav of my boss' BMW can cost around 800 euro (old car, proprietary satnav, proprietary maps, not user updatable, so service costs on top + margin), this is just going to be a nightmare.

      The good thing is that these idiocies will be targeting primarily the premium (= expensive) car segment. The low end clunkers most people drive will be stuck with "tablets" for their AC controls at best.

  • by Schmorgluck ( 1293264 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @09:30PM (#51245255)
    Will you have to open the Start menu to stop the car?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Will you have to open the Start menu to stop the car?

      Just put it in a Toyota, then you wouldn't expect it to stop.

    • Will you have to open the Start menu to stop the car?

      Stopping the car is only available in the Enterprise version.

    • error_msg { altert("I'm sorry, Start Menu and Cortana have stopped working. I'll try to fix it after the engine reboots.");
      reboot;
      call err_msg;}
  • by thoughtlover ( 83833 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @09:32PM (#51245267)

    I still get a chuckle about the time when Windows crashed and took down a battleship [wired.com]. If cars crashed like peoples' desktops, it'd look like a crash-up derby on the city streets...

    The joke used to be, "The day Microsoft starts making a product that doesn't suck is the day they start making vacuum cleaners."

    To be fair, Macintosh used to be an acronym for Most Applications Crash If Not The Operating System Hangs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @09:33PM (#51245269)

    If Microsoft were GM

    Microsoft should make cars, GM should make software:
              At a recent computer expo, Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated: "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving twenty-five dollar cars that got 1000 miles to the gallon."
              In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating the following: "If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would be driving cars with the following characteristics:

    For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

    Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car.

    Occasionally, your car would die on the freeway for no reason, and you would accept this, restart, and drive on.

    Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart; in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

    Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought 'Car95' or 'CarNT.' Then you would have to buy more seats.

    Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was more reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would only run on five percent of the roads.

    The oil, water, temperature and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single 'general car fault' warning light.

    New seats would force everyone to have the same back-end size.

    The airbag system would say 'Are you sure?' before going off.

    Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

    GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of Rand McNally road maps (now a GM subsidiary), even though they neither need them nor want them. Attempting to delete this option would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by 50 per cent or more.

    Every time GM introduced a new model, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

    You'd press the 'Start' button to shut off the engine.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @10:09PM (#51245519) Journal

      and if a car were designed like Linux?

      - The mechanic would tell you to "RTFM and fix it yourself!"

      - The brake pedal would be on the right and accelerator on the left.

      - You'd have dashboard buttons with names like "bt", "nrf", and "xs2".

      - You push "xs2" to see what happens, and the car accelerates forward without warning.

      - Only 15% of all seat covers would fit and you'd have to drive to New Mexico to find tires that fit.

      - Sometimes the brakes don't work, and TFM tells you to enter "stop -pd -V" in the command line as an alternative.

      - You accidentally type a lower case "-v" in the above command set, and the car goes faster instead of stopping.

      - You then smash into a brick wall at 70mph, and oddly the engine can still run.

      - You'd get beat up by Linux Car fans if you dare criticized it (or modded to hell, like I'm about to be).

      - The fans above usually take the body and dashboard off, and drive by pulling and splicing wires.

      - They actually drive better that way.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @09:34PM (#51245277) Journal

    "What was the cause of the accident?"

    "Um, I was looking for the 'What-If Analysis' feature in the Excel ribbon, officer."

    "Data tab, sir."

    "Oh! Thank you!"

    "You're welcome, sir. Step out of the car, please."

  • Please do not turn off your car while Windows installs Update 1 of 32,000...
  • Between smartphones, tablets, and laptops... why would I put LESS portable computer in a car with a distinct data plan etc?

    What I'd prefer is to have the auto people work on the bluetooth integration a bit more so that we can just screen cast our mobile phones to a car screen and integriate features... touch commands etc.

    The car doesn't really have all this wizbang app bullshit in it. Its just slaving its interface to the phone.

    And before someone says something like "what if the car gets hacked by malware f

  • Oh come on. I use Windows too, but it has not place where reliability is needed.

  • Will give new meaning to the Blue Screen of Death!
  • by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @10:49PM (#51245773) Homepage Journal
    My wife has a Volt, and it's actually a pretty good car - great features, etc. Only major complaint is the microsoft part of it - stupid dash crashes frequently, does odd things, can't be made to not automatically play music from your phone when all you're bloody trying to do is plug it in to charge, etc. Seriously, can be listening to the radio already, plug in your phone, BOOM - randomly picks something from your phone and autoplays it. Because autoplay of removable media has worked out so well for Microsoft operating systems for so many years, I guess...
  • The last thing I want is a vehicle running MS Windows. I don't want a buggy vehicle, I don't want Microsoft in charge of it, and I don't want to have to wait for them to fix the bugs. I want something reliable and open: Linux or BSD.
  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @11:07PM (#51245873) Journal
    This has got to be the most rediculous thing I've heard recently. As if people aren't stupid enough about playing with their phones while driving and getting distracted by that, now they want to put a full Windows OS in your car, too? Oh and by the way, the full-on dystopian 1984 future will then be here: you'll be spied on in your home, on your phone, at work, and in your car, all by Windows 10.

    FUCK THAT SHIT!

    Listen carefully, people: It's a car, not a lifestyle! It's transportation. You do not need Windows 10 in your gods-be-damned car; you need to forget all that, and put away your gods-be-damned phone, too, and PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD!
    • FUCK THAT SHIT! Listen carefully, people: It's a car, not a lifestyle! It's transportation. You do not need Windows 10 in your gods-be-damned car; you need to forget all that, and put away your gods-be-damned phone, too, and PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD!

      Other than that, you have any strong feelings on the matter?

      • Other than that, you have any strong feelings on the matter?

        Sarcasm noted. :-)

        Why should I be lukewarm about my opinions? XD

        I'm just glad that I like driving a small pickup truck. You can always get those with a 5-speed stickshift and pretty much bare-bones so far as accessories go, because they're working vehicles. All I ask for is air conditioning, maybe cruise control, and a decently-working, decent-sounding AM/FM stereo. When the day comes that I can get one in a plug-in electric version with decent range on a full charge, I'll do the Snoopy happy-dance.

        • Other than that, you have any strong feelings on the matter?

          Sarcasm noted. :-) Why should I be lukewarm about my opinions? XD

          Oh I do agree. It was just your post was so BOOM!, so I had to have a little fun with it. But I do feel the same as you. That's why I have my little Jeep. While the Grand Cherokees are completely modernly screwed up, My rather spartan guy doesn't spy on me, can't be disabled by OnStar or whatever version Jeep is using for their high end stuff, and it has some real gauges and stuff. The most advanced thing it has is traction control and ABS. And the traction control works so scary well, that I'm okay with th

          • It was just your post was so BOOM!

            You know, I've been noticing, more and more, that I get that sort of reaction out of people online; telling me to 'calm down' when I'm not even close to 'not calm', accusing me of being 'angry' or 'upset' when neither is the case. It's really making me wonder: is it my writing style, or, sociologically-speaking, has everything become such and emotional flatline in the post-2000 era, that expressing yourself in a no-nonsense, forthright manner now considered 'extreme'? I hate 'beating around the bush' so-to-

            • It was just your post was so BOOM!

              is it my writing style, or, sociologically-speaking, has everything become such and emotional flatline in the post-2000 era, that expressing yourself in a no-nonsense, forthright manner now considered 'extreme'? I hate 'beating around the bush' so-to-speak, if for no other reason than it takes considerably longer to create text than it does to just speak. What do you think, do you have an insight?

              It isn't a criticism, since I occasionaly get into a little extra salty emphasis, sometimes depending on my mood that day, but yeah, you're occasionally strong.

              But the second "but" in the whole thing is that after reading your other posts, I get used to your communnication style - and others as well. I think after we get used to each others styles, its all good.

              All in all, I'll take blunt and direct over wordsmithing and avoiding the point any day. I've had a few discussions in here with people who w

  • Volvo Cars will showcase new concepts that integrate Microsoft Band 2 with a Windows 10 smartphone and the Volvo on Call Universal App, creating new ways for customers to interact with their vehicles. From the new Microsoft Band, a Volvo owner can press and hold the action button and say, “Volvo, start the heater of my car,” among many other options.

    Or they could just simply turn the dial to heat rather than requiring a $250 device to accomplish the same task?

    • Volvo Cars will showcase new concepts that integrate Microsoft Band 2 with a Windows 10 smartphone and the Volvo on Call Universal App, creating new ways for customers to interact with their vehicles. From the new Microsoft Band, a Volvo owner can press and hold the action button and say, “Volvo, start the heater of my car,” among many other options.

      Or they could just simply turn the dial to heat rather than requiring a $250 device to accomplish the same task?

      You forgot the part where they tell the radio to turn off. One more step

      But I've seen this kind of crazy shit so many times. Replacing something easy with something more difficult, or at least twice the work.

  • I won't pick favorites here, I'll just mention that connected mobile devices go obsolete much faster than vehicles and vehicle manufacturers only care about vehicles they have already sold as long as some regulatory body makes them care. What I would like to see is an open standard for wireless display+input devices that can be a second screen for the mobile device that just about everyone has in their pocket these day. That way you can actually pay off that 6 year car loan before your factory infotainment
  • by adnonsense ( 826530 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2016 @12:11AM (#51246217) Homepage Journal
    Such a clever idea - panes of glass which keep the weather out while maintaining all-round visibility.
  • 1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day. 2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car. 3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this. 4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down an
  • Following on the path of backup camera's any new feature which can be marginally considered a safety feature can be promoted over and over until it becomes a mandatory requirement that must be maintained. The path to (4) profit is clear.

    • Following on the path of backup camera's any new feature which can be marginally considered a safety feature can be promoted over and over until it becomes a mandatory requirement that must be maintained. The path to (4) profit is clear.

      Equating a backup camera with windows is pretty silly. They are much more than marginally adding safety. I personally know two people who backed over one of their children, killing them. They were in the blind spot right in back of the car. All my vehicles have backup cameras in them, and I use them all the time. They've come in handy sometimes as well. They are even a great thing to have in the woods, as some times I'm backing up near cliffs.

      Some people were really pissed about turn signals and brake li

  • >Microsoft Teams With Automakers To Put Windows, Office In Cars

    Good thing Volvo isn't on my list of cars I would buy, anyway. But I currently have an Infiniti. Would hate to have to throw them out in the future...

  • I'd never buy a car that included Microsoft Windows. It's bad enough that ATM's throughout the world run Windows now. You want cars running it too? No thank you.
  • At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with the technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

    In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating, "If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

    1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash

  • So I guess because this is Microsoft, we just make all the jokes that stopped being funny, or true years ago? Then the tinfoilhatists with the "any new tech is loaded to the gills with sly stuff and will steal your life. Any intelligent discussion going on here?

    • That is sort of what I was thinking.

      The fact is, Microsoft is already in a lot of cars. I have taken road trips in cars with a Microsoft system and it seemed fine.

      The only thing that concerns me with "the cloud" being in a car is the added expense of maintaining a data link... I am sure it is "free" for some amount of time, but who wants to pay $50+/month to run Office apps ON THEIR CAR DASHBOARD?

      I am sure that Azure will allow for all kinds of cool things, (I mean, if you haven't taken a look at powerbi.co

  • "Microsoft Teams With Automakers To Put Windows In Cars"

    Wow, that's some innovation. What's next, doors? A roof? Tires? Pedals?

  • your car, or puting your car through windows and into an office?

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