Ford, Powered by Microsoft

image My current rental car is powered by Microsoft.

If that isn’t enough to strike fear into a mortal heart, I don’t know what is.

The first thing I noticed at the airport last week, climbing into this ugly dark gray Ford Fusion, is a big reset button on the dashboard.  My eyes trailed down to a logo next to the gearshift, and they immediately bugged out.  "Powered by Microsoft."  WTF?

I looked at the reset button.  I looked back at the logo.  I kept thinking, "So, what, does this car ‘crash’ and give you the Blue Screen of Death?"  I could imagine driving down the highway and having the engine, brakes and steering suddenly lock up for no reason, and me desperately jabbing at the reset button and waiting for the car to reboot as it spins out of control and tumbles off the pavement.

Fortunately, the only thing Microsoft powers is the voice activated sync between the car stereo and your Bluetooth enabled phone, and your iPod (or whatever) plugged into a USB port in the center console.

I’d been playing with it all weekend, and this morning was driving to work and decided I wanted to listen to Bat Out Of Hell by Meatloaf.  So I said, per the Microsoft instructions, "Play artist Meatloaf."

The car made a pleasant tone and a female computer voice responded, "Playing artist Vivaldi."

What the Hell?  How did it get ‘Vivaldi’ out of ‘Meatloaf’?  Did it misunderstand me, or did it make a decision?

Do I really want a car that has better musical tastes than I do?

As The Four Seasons began playing, I eyed the reset button, ready to push it.  Just in case.

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