Ford Buys Michigan Software Company Livio

Ford Motor Co., seeking to devise systems that better link car passengers’ mobile phones to their vehicles, acquired software company Livio for less than $10 million.

The automaker plans to retain all 11 full-time employees at Ferndale, Michigan-based Livio, Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s chief technical officer, told reporters today on a conference call. Livio will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford, he said.

“Livio has solutions which are largely software-based that allow our customers to bring their content into the vehicle through their mobile device,” Mascarenas said. Ford and Livio will “work towards developing an industry standard for smartphone-to-vehicle communications.”

Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally has made in-car technology a pillar of the second-largest U.S. carmaker’s vehicles with features including Sync voice commands and MyFord Touch controls. Systems that integrate cars with mobile phones will be used in 21 million vehicles by 2018, from just 1.9 million last year, according to researchers GSMA and SBD.

Livio hasn’t disclosed its financial performance, said Jake Sigal, the company’s founder and CEO. He declined to say whether Livio is profitable.

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