Microsoft’s ever encroaching assault on the world of automotive software has taken a step further today with the announcement of the company’s new Auto 4.0 vehicle software platform. Microsoft Auto is essentially an operating system that can run various software services and applications developed by Microsoft or other companies.

Previous generations of the platform provided carmakers with a simple system to add mobile device integration, speech recognition, and infotainment features to their vehicle’s electronic interface. The latest version adds full control of a car’s stereo system, which means it can tune the radio, play a CD and transfer a CD's audio tracks to the car's audio hard drive. It also allows full compatibility with Intel processors for the first time.

Microsoft plans to showcase the new software platform at this week’s Geneva Motor Show as well as the upcoming CeBIT event. Hyundai is the first carmaker to say it will use the new software, and expects the first vehicles equipped with it to be on the market by next year. Other carmakers that plan to use Auto 4.0 include Fiat Group, which will use the latest software for its next-generation of Blue&Me interface systems, as well as Ford for its Sync system.