Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has upped the ante. Many automakers including Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (ETR:BMW) (FRA:BMW), Fiat S.p.A. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:FIATY) (BIT:F) and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NSANY) (TYO:7201) have already been using its Windows Automotive or Windows Embedded in their vehicles. But so far, automakers were free to choose the design and user experience. Now Microsoft is planning to bring its own ‘Windows in the Car’ to challenge Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s CarPlay.

Microsoft to use Mirrorlink for ‘Windows in the Car’

The software giant showcased its in-vehicle infotainment system ‘Windows in the Car’ at its Build developers’ conference. And that concept resembles Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s CarPlay in many ways. Users will be able to connect their smartphone to the car dashboard. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) said it has started testing the concept in real cars.

Microsoft Windows Phone

Microsoft

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Steve Teixeira, who joined Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Internet of Things team, has taken up the challenge to develop ‘Windows in the Car’ system. Teixeira said the prototype he showcased at the conference uses the connectivity standard Mirrorlink. Notably, Mirrorlink is currently used in Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758)’s Xperia Z smartphone and Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V)’s Symbian handsets.

Microsoft to add Cortana to ‘Windows in the Car’

Teixeira explained how app developers will be able to design car-specific apps. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) recently announced Cortana with Windows 8.1 update. Teixeira said the voice assistant will be an integral part of the ‘Windows in the Car’ because voice is an ideal input mode while driving. However, his concept design of the in-vehicle infotainment system hadn’t integrated Cortana yet. The addition of Cortana will help drivers operate their phones without looking away from the road.

Teixeira said Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) wants to bring Windows Phone’s Metro user interface to the in-car dashboard. But it will be a lot more than just “blasting the phone UI to the dashboard.” Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s CarPlay connects a user’s iPhone to the car through a Lightning cable.

However, the Redmond-based company didn’t provide any details of the release date, or whether automakers have expressed interest in using its system, according to The Verge.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares ticked up 0.25% to $39.97 at 11:09 AM EDT.