The next big Internet device is your car, says Zack Hicks, Toyota’s top technology executive in North America. But don’t look for Apple to be a massive part of that anytime soon.Apple has been working with car makers to get them to put its tech in their vehicles. In June, Apple announced a product called Siri Eyes Free. This is essentially a version of Siri, Apple’s voice-recognition software, for cars. It’s supposed to let drivers make hands-free calls, play music, send messages, get directions, and so on using voice commands. Apple said it would show up in cars in the summer of 2013.
This is an alternative to tech that Microsoft has been offering car makers for years. Ford Sync is powered by Microsoft, for instance, as is Toyota’s Entune.
Still, Toyota was among the nine car makers whose logos were shown on a screen for Apple’s Eyes Free announcement last June. But when each of them was later asked about their plans by a reporter at Fast Company, not all of them were really on board. Toyota said, “There are no particular applications planned at this time.”
And the executive who made the June presentation about Siri Eyes Free, Scott Forstall, is leaving Apple, with responsibility for Siri going to another executive, Eddy Cue.
Hicks explained it to Business Insider this way:
Apple is everyone’s darling but everyone is knocking on their door. So while there’s great partnership opportunities and capabilities, how much are they willing to invest with their partners? They don’t have to today. So it’s a matter of who can really scale and who can work with large corporate enterprises.
Who? In a word: Microsoft.
“When it comes to the platform of the vehicle, our leader Akio Toyoda met with Steve Ballmer and decided on this deal,” Hicks said.
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