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- Microsoft to "Unveil" the next generation Speech Platform
Microsoft has been researching "speech" for over a decade, long before the release of Speech Server in 2004. However, this time around, speech would be featured big time in Windows Vista, with a new
System.Speech namespace in the WinFX SDK (not be confused with the
System.Web.Speech namespace in the Speech Application SDK).
Last month, Microsoft announced that it had acquired certain intellectual property assets from Unveil Technologies Inc. However, now the story is that Microsoft has indeed acquired the whole company, and would also absorb some of its employees into Microsoft. Why? The Unveil Conversation Suite was a brilliant piece of software; a killer-app to be precise; and allowed non-speech developers to rapidly design and develop Enterprise Speech applications graphically. This was more then what Pronexus's VBSALT offered.
So, this adds another company to the growing list of speech companies being acquired and merged in the recent months; Scansoft and Nuance, Unveil and Microsoft, and yet another one, Intervoice and Edify.
By acquiring Unveil, Microsoft has killed two birds with one stone, so to speak. While the Conversation Manager would surely be a vital component in the next release of the Speech Server, Microsoft has also taken a great J2EE-based speech product for the IBM Speech platform, off the market. I call this brilliant strategy. Great thinking Bill!