Microsoft has already expressed some interest on bringing Office to the car, and it sounds like it’ll continue to do that work with Renault-Nissan via a new tie-up between the two companies. The newly formed strategic partnership will see Microsoft help the automaker develop more connectivity services, particularly through the use of Azure cloud services.
What does the partnership actually aim to do? A joint press release from the two companies breaks it down, noting that it’ll help with creating, securing and transferring driver profiles and settings from one car to another; that it will support productivity software integration into the car; that it’ll provide a route for over-the-air software updates for things like autonomous drive software; that it can help car owners monitor their vehicles from a distance; and more.
The key things to pay attention to here are how Microsoft is working with carmakers to extend the reach of Office and its productivity software to inside the car. In the short-term, this makes sense in terms of providing drivers with suggestions about destinations and phone calls to make based on their schedule; Microsoft has already detailed features like this in another similar partnership with Mercedes.
Long-term, getting a foothold in the car will pave the way for future scenarios where drivers can be even more fully engaged with Office software, since their vehicle is handling the driving for them.
Another key point here is that Nissan-Renault is expressing its intent to update car software via OTA means in the future, which is similar to how Tesla handles updates to its own in-car experience today. This is likely to become the new norm, especially if Tesla can successfully scale up to becoming another automaker shipping millions of vehicles per year, and its approach to software continues to resemble what it’s doing today.