Ford needs to think more like a software company in order to thrive within the future of its industry, the carmaker's head of connected services told CNBC Thursday.
Cars are becoming increasingly connected with each automaker having their own in-car systems. Ford has a software system called SYNC which allows people to tether their smartphones to the car. But another feature called AppLink allows developers to make apps that can be downloaded on a phone but controlled via voice commands in Ford's cars.
Ford has opened its proprietary system up to developers in the past couple of years as it looks to get more app makers on board.
"We need to adopt more and more of a mindset of a software or services company. Meaning partnership will be key and being open and being inviting will be key," Don Butler, executive director of connected vehicle and services at Ford, told CNBC in an interview at the Web Summit conference in Dublin.
"That's why we took AppLink and made it open source which was proprietary."