Ford's Livio Doesn't See Google As a Threat

When it comes to industry standards, Ford's Livio says, the focus is on compatibility and not competition.

Jun 7, 2014 at 3:00PM

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) recently acquired software start-up Livio to work with Ford's Smart Device Link standard. The goal is an industry standard that will provide a single method for app connectivity, allowing any smartphone to communicate smoothly and safely with all vehicles -- be it Ford or any other brand.

Livio is a disruptive company, but could it find itself being disrupted by giants such as Google? After all, Google has wreaked havoc on everyone from GPS makers with Google Maps, to automakers with its self-driving technology.

Motley Fool analyst Rex Moore was able to speak with Livio founder and CEO, Jake Sigal, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In this video, Sigal explains that Google can be more of a partner in this area, rather than a threat.

A full transcript follows the video.

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Rex Moore: As you know in industries like this -- the disruption -- the technology changes. It's huge, it's fast. You yourself are a disrupter, probably.

As you assess the competitive landscape out there with companies like Google, do you fear them? What do you see, competitively?

Jake Sigal: No, we need to be good partners. Anyone that's making consumer electronic devices, and those devices are interacting in cars or with cars -- whether they're being driven or they're being ridden and you're a passenger in the vehicle, or they're just maybe driving by -- you have to have good partnerships.

You want to maintain compatibility, and by having an industry standard you work across platform, which means you could be compatible with any mobile phone, on any vehicle operating system, with any potential application.

Now, of course it's up to the automaker to make sure that that app is safe, and looks the way that they want to have an experience of the car, and they control that by country and by region. That being said, you have to have partnerships with these CE companies. It's not competitive.

Rex Moore owns shares of Google (A and C shares). The Motley Fool recommends and and owns shares of Ford and Google (A and C shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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