Google and Mercedes and a Steve Jobs Story

Gary S. Vasilash


During his introduction of the new Mercedes SL at a preview before the opening of the North American International Auto Show, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, told a story about the late Steve Jobs. It seems that Jobs drove an SL. And being the consummate design detail person that he was, he didn’t like the way that the California license plate interfered with the lines of the car.

Mercedes-Benz Press Conference at the NAIAS 2012 in Detroit

Dr. Dieter Zetsche of Mercedes-Benz with the new Mercedes SL to his right and the classic 300 SL from 1952 to his left.

So, Zetsche said, Jobs allegedly took advantage of an aspect of California law that says that for new cars there is a grace period of up to six months before a hard plate has to be affixed to the car.

Every six months Jobs would buy a new Mercedes SL.

While there are certainly many tails from Silicon Valley, there is a new chapter being written this week as yesterday at the International Consumer Electronics Show Daimler and Google “announced a deepening of their strategic partnership.” A consequence is that Daimler is going to have early access to Google application programming interfaces (APIs) for its navigation systems. Another benefit that will be realized is that they’ll be able to rapidly get various Google services into Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

Mercedes has been offering Google “Send to Car” since 2007, though which a Mercedes driver can send Google Map destinations to their in-car navigation system. In 2011 Mercedes offered through its COMAND Online telematics system cloud-based apps that include functions like Google Street View.

Daimler und Google intensivieren strategische Partnerschaft

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, and Eiko Böhm, vice president of Product Innovations and Process Technologies at Daimler.

Starting in the second quarter of this year they’ll be offering the ability to send individualized Google Map routes to their vehicles. Daimler claims it is the first-to-market with this functionality in a vehicle.