From: Rohit Khare (Rohit@KnowNow.com)
Date: Mon Jul 31 2000 - 10:28:01 PDT
Bits, dammit, bits!
At 9:34 AM -0700 7/31/00, Gregory Alan Bolcer wrote:
>Qualcomm & Ford combine & form Wingcast to
>broadcast data to cars.
Monday July 31 12:00 PM EDT
Ford races toward wireless with Qualcomm
By Erich Luening, CNET News.com
Ford Motor today announced a deal with Qualcomm to add wireless
connections to automobiles, including mobile phone service.
Latest Tech News
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Free Tech Help The new venture, tentatively called Wingcast, will be
based in San Diego where Qualcomm has its headquarters, the companies
said in a statement. Ford is expected to be the largest shareholder
in the venture.
Financial details were not disclosed.
"This is an extremely significant move by Ford," said Jonathan
Lawrence, an analyst at Dain Rauscher. "It is a real step change by
Ford. The plan is to build shareholder value by partnering with
another company to develop a new venture and spin it off in the
Ford expects that more than 1 million of its new cars and trucks will
be equipped with the products and services by the end of 2002, 3
million by 2003, and virtually all of its cars and trucks by the end
of 2004. The level and depth of services will increase each year
during that period.
The announcement marks Ford's move into so-called telematics
services, which include bringing phone, Internet, entertainment,
navigation and safety services to vehicles, according to the company
MotleyFool.com - Fool Plate Special
Get Ready for the Interactive Car
By Chris Rugaber
Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F - news), the world's No. 2 automaker, and
wireless communications company Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM - news)
announced the launch of a joint venture this morning: a new company
tentatively called Wingcast. The company will "develop and deliver
wireless mobility and information services that will bring voice,
entertainment, Internet access and safety services into cars and
trucks," according to a news release on Qualcomm's website.
Both companies will own stakes in Wingcast, as will a privately owned
communications outfit called Cartell, though further financial terms
were not disclosed. Wingcast's president and CEO will be Harel
Kodesh, a former Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT - news) vice president for
consumer appliances. Kodesh worked on handheld computer software such
as Microsoft's Windows CE operating system.
A New Mobile Platform
Today's announcement goes beyond the usual "dashboard computer"
initiatives that other auto companies have developed. Ford and
Qualcomm executives see the automobile as "the next mobile portal," a
place where millions of Americans may access wireless data and
Internet services and applications for the first time, or at least
more often than they do anywhere else. The companies cite the usual
International Data Corporation estimate, which calls for the
"telematics" market to grow from $1 billion in 1998 to $42 billion by
2010. According to an article in Forbes, a more conservative estimate
-- based on one in five drivers paying for onboard wireless services
-- puts the 2010 market at a still-sizable $30 billion.
"Telematics" refers to the convergence of wireless and global
satellite positioning technology, along with automobile electronics.
Early versions have been around since Ford added a wireless roadside
assistance service to its Lincoln Continentals. Currently, General
Motor's (NYSE: GM - news) OnStar is the market leader, with 4 million
customers expected by 2002. OnStar enables drivers to do everything
from unlock their car doors via satellite if the keys are locked
inside, to access the Internet. However, GM has not yet sold OnStar's
service to any other automaker.
What Do Ford and Qualcomm Get Out of This Deal?
Ford sees Wingcast as an opportunity to go beyond just adding a
service to its own cars, and instead become the leading provider of
wireless data and Internet access to automakers. In fact, Wingcast is
already working with Nissan to provide its services to some of
Nissan's luxury vehicles.
Qualcomm, meanwhile, sees the huge telematics market as an excellent
source for additional licensing fees for its CDMA technology, not
only because of its size, but also the ability to quickly create
critical mass. "Who has more loyalty than car owners?" asked Qualcomm
Vice President Paul Jacobs in today's press conference. Ideally, the
more customers who use Wingcast in their cars, the more they will use
wireless data services outside their cars, through mobile phones and
In part, this initiative is based on the idea that car buyers will
really want to be connected all the time. "The Internet has gotten
customers hooked on the feeling of being constantly connected," said
Ford's CTO Michael Ledford. "They want that same feeling in their
car." Of course, it's possible that many people may see their driving
time as a time to relax, rather than to be bombarded with e-mail and
If so, then things may or may not pan out exactly as the companies
expect. On the other hand, who wouldn't want to occupy their kids
with interactive games on a long road trip? Perhaps such
entertainment services, along with roadside assistance and other
applications, will help telematics reach its potential.
Ford, Qualcomm in wireless services venture-WSJ
NEW YORK, July 31 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (NYSE:F - news) is
expected to announce a joint venture with Qualcomm Inc (NasdaqNM:QCOM
- news) to deliver wireless services to automobiles, including a
mobile-phone service, the Wall Street Journal reported in Monday's
The announcement would mark Ford's move into telematics services,
which includes bringing phone, Internet, entertainment, navigation
and safety services to vehicles, the Journal said.
The venture, tentatively called Wingcast, would be based in San Diego
where Qualcomm has headquarters, the newspaper said, citing sources
close to the deal. Ford was expected to be the largest shareholder of
the venture, the Journal reported.
Wingcast systems could be rolled out in one million Ford cars in
model year 2002, the newspaper said, noting the systems could be
included in another three million vehicles the following year.
By 2004, every Ford car could be equipped with a wireless system, the
Former Microsoft Corp. (NasdaqNM:MSFT - news) Vice President Harel
Kodesh, who led the software giant's wireless efforts until his
departure this year, was expected to be Wingcast's chief executive.
Wingcast would develop a communication system based on Qualcomm's
CDMA, or code division multiple access, wireless technology,
according to the newspaper.
Other vendors would work with Wingcast to make the system's hardware,
which would include devices attached to the inside of cars as well as
mobile phones drivers could take with them.
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