Compared to some of the other automotive naysayers, Ford has been outspoken about the fact that Silicon Valley might (shock horror!) actually be able to successfully disrupt the car industry.
Now a Ford exec says his company actually welcomes the competition from companies like Google and Apple.
“We welcome the activity that’s in the space,” said Don Butler, Ford’s executive director for connected vehicles and services, in an interview with TrustedReviews . “We think it’s exciting. It’s actually changed that we are embracing … I think Apple can do it. I think Google can do it.”
He went on to note that Ford’s future is likely going to be as a partner to the likes of Google and Apple as they revolutionize the way we travel.
“I think that what you will most likely see is a number of partnerships with companies that bring different skill-sets to the table working together to deliver solutions that neither of them could have done possibly on their own,” he said.
This isn’t the first time Ford has taken such a stance. Last year it reportedly agreed to team up with Google on a self-driving car project that will combine Ford’s vehicles with Google’s technology.
The company has also embraced Apple’s Siri Eyes Free and CarPlay in-dash technology. Ford has even gone so far as reshuffling its management team, handing new director of corporate strategy, Michael Seneski, the job of seeking partnerships with tech giants.
At a tech conference in Ireland in 2015, company chairman Bill Ford Jr. said the company is “going to have to migrate to new business models, which will be much more like transportation as a service.”
While I’m sure nobody is able to predict exactly how the arrival of tech giants like Google and Apple in the automotive industry will work out, or what the ultimate repercussions will be, it’s certainly a nice change to hear from someone in the car biz who doesn’t simply dismiss the future out of hand.