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Microsoft is rebooting its push to sell software for cars with a new set of programs and services in a bid to keep up with rivals such as Google and Apple that are expanding in auto technology. "We're not getting into self-driving cars ourselves but we can be an important element of it by providing the platform," said Microsoft's business development chief Peggy Johnson, in an interview. The Renault-Nissan alliance signed an agreement in September with Microsoft to work on car technology. The companies said Thursday that Renault-Nissan will be the first customer for Microsoft's Connected Vehicle Platform, which provides carmakers with a set of services built on Microsoft's Azure cloud.
BMW customers will be able to view the luxury carmaker's hybrid and electric BMWi cars with augmented reality technology in a world first for car dealerships from Thursday, the manufacturer said. Using a smartphone, potential buyers can view and interact with a virtual car as if it were standing in front of them.