International Microcomputer Software Inc has teamed up with IBM Corp to integrate speech recognition technology in business productivity software sold by IMSI. IMSI signed a licensing agreement with IBM’s Worldwide Speech Systems unit that will see its ViaVoice 98 continuous speech technology included in about 30 software products currently sold by IMSI. Also as part […]
International Microcomputer Software Inc has teamed up with IBM Corp to integrate speech recognition technology in business productivity software sold by IMSI. IMSI signed a licensing agreement with IBM’s Worldwide Speech Systems unit that will see its ViaVoice 98 continuous speech technology included in about 30 software products currently sold by IMSI. Also as part of the deal, IBM will discontinue its ViaVoice Gold continuous speech and Simply Speaking Gold discrete speech products and transfer ownership of the software to IMSI, which will include the technology in its VoiceDirect line of dictation software. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The new arrangement with IBM, signals the end of IMSI’s partnership with rival speech recognition company Dragon Systems Inc, under which it had a limited license for distributing Dragon’s discrete speech technology in the Americas, Australia and New Zealand. IMSI said the jump comes as a result of both licensing and technology concerns. On the licensing issue, IBM will allow IMSI world-wide distribution rights, a major concern for the company, as it markets its products in more than 60 countries. As for the technology, the new arrangement gives IMSI access to the latest continuous speech recognition technology, as well as access to software that IBM is developing now and will develop in the future. Dragon was unwilling to give up such a large amount of distribution autonomy for its product line, according to IMSI. But Janet Baker, co-founder and president at Dragon, insisted that her company was prepared to discuss a broader arrangement that included both its continuous speech software and unlimited geographical distribution. Baker said that after some initial discussion between the two companies, IMSI simply never got back to them to work on a deal, leading her to assume that IBM just gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse. For IBM, which has been trying to gain more mainstream acceptance for its speech recognition technologies, the deal with IMSI means that about two million more units of its speech software will ship in the coming year. IBM’s speech group had previously made it clear that it would be aggressively signing up numerous partners this year, and promises more announcements in the near future – including one with Intel Corp that will see the chipmaker optimize its processors for running speech-enabled applications. IMSI, which currently sells about 50 different products, said it would speech enable every one where speech makes sense. It already claimed to be the first vendor offering speech-enabled CAD software. The IBM technology will be phased into the product line this summer and IMSI said it would be integrated into most of the 30 targeted products by the end of the calendar year.