GM ditches CarPlay in new vehicles

Your car dashboard is shaping up to be the next front in the fight to own the screens we look at all day.

Driving the news: General Motors (GM) is abandoning Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto on many of its new electric vehicles, opting for its own proprietary software for multimedia displays. 

  • GM's move is in line with Tesla and other EV makers who have dropped third-party display software in favour of their own.

Why it matters: Car makers want you to use their software rather than Apple’s or Google’s so that they can own the entire in-car experience—and, yes, charge you for some fancy add-ons that can be delivered remotely.

  • GM thinks they can generate an extra US$20 billion in revenue by 2030 from selling features, like hands-free lane-change capability, that drivers can purchase through the company’s in-car software.

Yes, but: Unlike Apple and Google, most car companies are set up to make, well, cars—as anyone who has struggled to set up their Bluetooth in a new car can tell you, it’s not yet clear they can build software people actually like using.

  • Their efforts to date have been underwhelming: J.D. Power reports that problems with “infotainment systems” accounted for by far the largest number of complaints about new vehicles last year.

Bottom line: CarPlay and Android Auto have become essential features for many car buyers, but GM has decided the opportunity presented by owning the full vehicle experience is worth the risk of alienating them.