Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s CEO, Mark Fields, has been elected to the board of the International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), a development that is being praised by leaders and observers in and outside the two companies. The move comes at a time when Ford has appeared to court technology in unprecedented ways. The company is in the process of including automation features in more of its production vehicles and it is also presently testing a self-driving car.
Growing beyond core
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and IBM are both looking to grow beyond their traditional domains, partly because their core businesses are cooling or have become more competitive, thus threatening future growth. With Fields on IBM’s board, perhaps the two companies could find more common grounds to diversify and grow their respective businesses faster.
IBM’s CEO, GinniRometty, couldn’t hold back her joy of having Fields on IBM’s board. It appears to Rometty that Fields is such a visionary leading who is focusing Ford to a future where vehicles will do more than what they are capable of presently. Perhaps that is not far away because Ford has already started adding technologies to its products that make them more intelligent. Additionally, the company can be seen working towards blurring the line between being on the road and sitting on a sofa at home. With MyFordPass, you can use your smartphone to start or lock the car in the garage while you are lying on the bed. You can also use the same app to monitor the security situation or control some appliances at home when you are on the road.
For IBM, Rometty believes that Fields will bring extensive experience in running a large global business.
IBM in cars
While Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is working to bring more technology to vehicles, IBM is struggling to get a meaningful presence in in cars. Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Google and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) appear to be far ahead of IBM in the auto industry. For example, besides their secretive car projects (Project Titan in the case of Apple), the two companies are behind the most advanced car infotainment interfaces – Android Auto and CarPlay.
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Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) can help IBM catch up with the technology peers in the auto space, especially by leveraging the cognitive computing power of Watson.