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article imageMicrosoft announces partnership with BMW to put Skype in your car

By James Walker     Jul 14, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft has commenced another partnership with BMW that will see the technology giant and automotive leader work together on new connected car solutions. Microsoft, a longstanding BMW partner, will integrate its Skype app into BMW's products.
Skype will be offered as an expansion of BMW Connected, the company's in-car infotainment system that's available across its range. Connected is built on top of Open Mobility, a cloud platform that Microsoft built with BMW last year. Since then, the two companies have continued to work together, integrating Microsoft's Office 365 collaboration services into BMW's business models.
Adding Skype to the package is Microsoft's next move. The company said that many business leaders communicate using Skype for Business while at work. They'll now be able to stay connected while they're driving. BMW Connect will provide a heads-up view of upcoming meetings, show the calendar for the day and start new calls from within the car.
"With BMW Connected we offer a wide range of digital services designed to help users with their daily mobility needs inside and outside of the car," said Dieter May, senior vice president of BMW Digital Products and Services. "The integration of productivity features in-car (like Exchange and Skype for Business) and personalized and contextual services will help customers with their day-to-day work and planning while they are on the road."
For Microsoft, the partnership allows it to retain a strong foothold in the rapidly growing automotive sector. The industry is undergoing a digital transformation where drivers expect to be able to access cloud services while on the go.
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Although Microsoft doesn't have its own in-car platform to rival Apple's CarPlay or Google's Android Auto, its work with automotive brands like BMW demonstrates its interest. Like many of its current projects, the initiative centres on Microsoft's existing services, like Skype and Exchange.
It wants its Office 365 cloud productivity suite to be available wherever the user is, making an extension into cars a logical move for Microsoft. BMW benefits too – it remains in control of its own automotive platform while being able to offer its business customers the tools they require.
BMW said that Skype will be available in cars fitted with its iDrive system from later this year. Initially, the feature will be restricted to vehicles in the U.K., Germany and France. More markets will be added over time.
More about Microsoft, Skype, skype for business, Office 365, Bmw
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