RealTime IT News

Microsoft Buys Speech Support

Microsoft is improving its Speech Server platform with new technology from Unveil Technology, which will improve the ability of Microsoft's users to optimize speech apps.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Existing Unveil customers will maintain their ties to its technology once the deal closes.

Unveil Technology is a Waltham, Mass.-based company whose lead product, the Unveil Conversation Suite is billed as "a complete speech application management environment that enables enterprise call centers to rapidly build, deploy and maintain high performance speech applications."

Microsoft plans on incorporating the Adaptive Learning and Conversation Assist components from Unveil's software into a future version of Microsoft Speech Server.

Unveiled in March 2004, Speech Server is a Speech Application Language Tags (SALT)-based solution and uses the .NET framework as its application server.

The goal is to take advantage of those components that are used for "learn by example" tutorials and other "assist" functions in order to more easily enable Microsoft's users to optimize and develop their own speech applications with Speech Server.

"Unveil's technology is a natural fit with Speech Server because it is in line with our vision of making speech applications affordable and easy to develop and maintain," said Rich Bray, general manager of the Speech Server group at Microsoft, in a statement.

"By supplementing our toolset with Conversation Suite technologies, even a non-technical call-center manager can prototype and develop robust speech applications."

A notable fact of Speech Server is that Kai-Fu Lee, then corporate vice president of the Speech Technologies Group at Microsoft, oversaw its production when it was in beta.

Kai-Fu Lee has been the subject of a bitter dispute between Microsoft and Lee's current employer Google.