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Ford Acquires Livio

Goal is to get apps into cars faster

The effort to get the connected car to consumers a little easier and faster just became a little less complicated with Ford’s acquisition of Livio, the companies hope.

The formerly privately-owned Livio, known for middleware software (as well as radio development early in its life), has become a fully-owned subsidiary of Ford Global Technologies, which manages all aspects of intellectual property for Ford.

Livio will function as a separate department within Ford Electrical/Electronic Systems Engineering, while integrated into Ford’s overall connectivity operations. The deal gives Ford access to a broad group of application developers, while enabling Livio to maintain its independent and entrepreneurial approach, according to the companies.

Ford Global Technologies President/CEO Bill Coughlin said Ford is acquiring Livio “to advance connectivity for our customers and to lead the way in in-vehicle connectivity for the entire automotive industry.” The companies aren’t disclosing the financial details of the transaction.

Livio Co-Founder and CEO Jake Sigal told Radio World that the company will remain in Ferndale, Mich., and its team will remain in place.

The purchase allows the companies to share technologies, intellectual properties and engineering talent as they work toward creating an industry standard for in-car connectivity and smartphone-to-vehicle communications. Creating an industry standard would give app creators a single platform to work with, resulting in faster development of higher quality apps for consumers to safely access digital content on-the-go, according to Sigal.

Ford debuted its Sync connectivity system in 2007. With Sync and its Ford Sync AppLink application programming interface, Ford launched an open developer program that enables software developers to “directly interface” with a vehicle and create apps, according to the automaker.

“This news is all about accelerating a standard for the automotive industry to help content get into cars,” said Sigal. “This acquisition from Ford allows us to continue to do what we’re doing … with the backing of Ford.” The company continues to move to “that single, smart device link standard,” he said.

The goal is to get apps into cars faster and in a more standard way.