Ford says it is teaming up with Microsoft to make the future of in-vehicle updates and connected services faster and easier to use.

The move follows the recent announcement from rival GM that is is expanding its OnStar telematics system to Europe.   

Ford has announced the creation of the next-generation Ford Service Delivery Network, a global cloud computing platform, to take the ownership experience into the future enabling new ways for customers to interact with their vehicles.

The new network will expand connected services for customers around the world using the scalable and reliable Microsoft Azure cloud computing infrastructure.

Ford and Lincoln owners will benefit from the convenience of new services keeping them better connected to their vehicle with the expanded availability of features like scheduled remote start, vehicle finder and vehicle status (fuel or charge level, tyre pressure).

"The Ford Service Delivery Network will facilitate growth and innovation of connected services to our customers," said Don Butler, executive director, connected vehicle and services.

"Customers will benefit from over-the-air software updates and convenient connectivity to their vehicles allowing such features as remote start, vehicle finder and vehicle status updates from their smartphones."

The Service Delivery Network will first provide Ford with the platform to deliver over-the-air software updates for SYNC 3. Connected services such as MyFord and MyLincoln Mobile will migrate to the Ford SDN as well.

Building the Ford SDN on the Microsoft Azure platform enables Ford to bring new features to market faster, quickly scale up for global implementation and remain flexible for the future.

As consumers shift toward more cloud-based services, Ford claims its Ford SDN architecture is a strategic approach to stay flexible and relevant throughout the vehicle ownership period by making it easy to add or evolve connected services.

"We're always looking for new ways to innovate how we connect with our customers and the new SDN presents a platform for us to do just that and deliver the ownership and user experiences of the future," said Butler.