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Bill Ford on Apple, Google auto push: 'It's awesome'

Apple and Google's entrance into the auto sector is "awesome," and Ford will likely strike partnerships with the new players in the sector, Ford's executive chairman said on Tuesday.

During a question and answer session at the Web Summit conference in Dublin, Bill Ford said he was pleased that technology giants were entering the auto world.

"I think it's awesome," Ford said.


Bill Ford
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Bill Ford

Google is currently testing driverless cars in the U.S., while speculation has been rife that Apple could be producing a vehicle of its own. The auto industry has been a big focus for technology companies as they begin to expand past their core business.

At the same time, traditional automakers have been trying to bolster their own tech capabilities. Earlier this year, a consortium of German carmakers made up of Daimler, BMW and Audi, bought Nokia's HERE mapping system which is seen as a key component for driverless cars.

Ford said that the auto industry is ripe to undergo a revolution, adding that this is now beginning.

"I mean if you look at the business model of our industry…it really didn't change a lot, it certainly evolved…but compared to other industries where there was a series of revolutions," Ford said.

"We are now at the point where we are at the threshold of a series of revolutions in our industries.. And I think the new entrants…will only make it better. And to me it's really exciting and there are great partnership opportunities too."

While the chairman of the auto giant declined to say whether Ford would collaborate with Apple and Google, he did predict that partnerships will be key for established carmakers to survive.

"I do think that partnerships will be important because if you think back to my great grandfather where the vision was (a) vertically integrated company…that will be very different in the future…because one company can't and probably shouldn't know it all and do it all," Ford said at the conference.