Today, we\u2019d like to award a \u201ccoolest demo of the show\u201d award to Microsoft\u2019s recent display of its Windows Automotive initiative at Comdex Las Vegas.What caught our eye was the minivan stationed at the main entrance to Comdex, complete with \u201cWindows Automotive\u201d decals. Casting aside our first impression that Microsoft had decided to take on General Motors and Ford by manufacturing cars, we looked a bit closer at the demo. It turns out Microsoft hasn\u2019t started to manufacture cars - but it is actively involved in the manufacturing process and in the car-driving experience.Microsoft\u2019s .Net telematics systems blend wireless and computing technologies for automotive use, providing information access to and from the World Wide Web and the telephone network. Applications range from speech-enabled phone calls to navigation aids to infotainment systems to maintenance diagnostics. The technology is based on Windows CE, and it is available and supported by 17 different auto manufacturers, including BMW, Citroen, Fiat, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Toyota and Volvo.When we asked about security and reliability, a Microsoft spokesman noted that the information services do not perform any \u201cmission-critical\u201d applications (like actually driving the car), so even if the system is unavailable, safety remains unaffected. The systems are protected by vendor-controlled, vendor-specific hardware and software.We\u2019ve discussed unified communications in previous newsletters, pointing out that the telephony user interface (TUI) and graphical user interface (GUI) are standard. Perhaps it\u2019s time to consider a third interface category: the car user interface (CUI).