Ford Acquires in-Car Connectivity Firm Livio

Ford Acquires in-Car Connectivity Firm Livio

Fordannounced today it had acquired in-car connectivity software firm Livio.

Livio, which is based in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale, Mich., was founded five years ago by Jake Sigal, a former employee of parts supplier Delphi Corp. Ford paid less than $10 million for the 11-person startup, said Paul Mascarenas, Ford's chief technical officer. Livio is Ford's first technology acquisition in 13 years.

Livio will function as a separate wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Global Technologies and while it will be integrated into Ford's connectivity operations, it will be a separate department. Livio will keep supplying its current customers, including General Motors.

The press release stated the intention behind this was to allow "Livio to maintain its independent and entrepreneurial approach."

Ford noted the acquisition of Livio will allow it to create a single, industrywide platform, allowing users to access Internet and other digital content while in their cars. The release said this acquisition will "standardize the way customers connect their smartphones to their vehicles."

Livio Connect serves as a technology to help" seamlessly" integrate various apps and other technologies into the actual in-vehicle hardware on which they operate. This in turn creates an experience that lets drivers both safely access and control various apps through their car's stereo.

Ford says it has been the industry leader in the in-car connectively market through its Ford SYNC platform, which was introduced in 2007. It anticipates that worldwide by 2015 approximately 14 million vehicles will have SYNC, and 7 million will have SYNC AppLink, which allows users to access and control apps with their voices. In 2011 there were 3 million vehicles equipped with SYNC.

The release also noted a study that suggested more than 21 million vehicles by 2018 will have technology integrating the smartphone and the hardware in the car, compared to just 1.9 million last year.

Livio CEO Jake Sigal stated, "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."

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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