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What’s Behind GM’s Controversial Move to Abandon Apple CarPlay?

What’s Behind GM’s Controversial Move to Abandon Apple CarPlay?

In March 2023, General Motors announced that it was dropping CarPlay and Android Auto support from its new electric vehicles, starting with the 2024 Chevrolet Blazer. The carmaker said it would be replacing Apple and Google’s infotainment platforms with a proprietary in-house infotainment system as part of an effort to better control and customize the digital experience for drivers and passengers in its vehicles.

But why would GM make such a decision, when Apple reported in 2022 that 79% of car buyers in the U.S. insisted on ‌CarPlay‌ support when considering a new vehicle purchase? (And I’m sure at least a few Android users asked for Android Auto.) GM has since faced several hurdles with its infotainment system, with several reports revealing several technical issues with the new system.

CarPlay and Android Auto both provide a familiar interface experience for drivers and passengers, as both mirror the user experience on their respective smartphone platforms.

The new in-house system GM is replacing CarPlay and Android with is called Ultifi, and GM says the new digital platform offers a range of services, such as media streaming, navigation, and other services, many of which will be available via subscription-based add-ons that will drive a new revenue stream for the carmaker. (I think we may have just discovered the impetus behind GM’s removal of CarPlay and Android Auto. Always follow the money.)

Unfortunately, the rollout of GM’s new infotainment system has not gone smoothly, as owners are bringing their vehicles back to the dealer with complaints about software malfunctions that the dealerships have struggled to fix satisfactorily.

While it makes sense for GM to want to bring things in-house, giving them more control over the data it collects from drivers, they may have jumped the gun a bit in their desire to make more money.

Today, an in-depth Bloomberg report takes a closer look at GM’s decision to replace Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto with its own homegrown infotainment software. It is recommended reading.