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IBM's Voice Recognition Portfolio Supports Office XP

With the launch of some and the pending availability of many key Microsoft Corp. software products, many other tech firms have been scrambling to update their own offerings to pair them with the largest, most powerful software brand in the business.

IBM Corp. Thursday showed that it is no exception as it launched its latest voice recognition software as part of a family of voice recognition software that can make conversing with PCs, handheld devices, car electronic systems and customer service systems easier.

IBM ViaVoice for Windows, Release 9 is the first such voice desktop platform to embrace Office XP. And ViaVoice will work for the highly-anticipated XP operating system, which many people have circled on the calendar as due Oct. 25, according to its maker.

The software update offers the following new features: Key Control, which ensures that voice commands are not mistaken for dictation; Quick Response dictation, which allows ViaVoice to respond promptly as users create text with their voice, making faster dictation a real possibility; Large Font Option: makes it easier to read training scripts to train the system more quickly.

ViaVoice consists of four editions -- Pro USB, Advanced, Standard and Personal, which in descending order caters to seasoned tech professionals to novice users. The top-of-the-line Pro USB Edition includes a stereo USB headset microphone with a digital signal processor for higher speech recognition accuracy, which Big Blue touted as the most advanced microphone ever included in the ViaVoice line. The device was created for executives and professionals who consider the fastest computer communications possible a priority.

IBM's ViaVoice is part of a family of speech products that includes IBM WebSphere Voice Server and other infrastructure software, all designed to help people communicate with PCs, personal digital assistant (PDAs) and Web-enabled phones via voice. Websphere, IBM's crowning achievement in software platforms, was ranked the No. 1 leader in the application server software platform (ASSP) market in share and growth in Asia Thursday by research firm IDC Corp.

ViaVoice for Windows, Release 9 in U.S. English is available today, with other language versions to become available in November 2001, including U.K. English, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, and Chinese. Suggested retail price for the Personal Edition is $29.95; Standard Edition is $59.95; Advanced Edition is $109.95; and Pro USB Edition is $229.95. It will be sold online through ShopIBM.com and other online vendors, as well as traditional channels that carry Windows software.

Owners of previous editions of ViaVoice and other non-IBM speech products will be eligible for a mail-in upgrade rebate if they purchase Via Voice Release 9 Pro USB Edition before February 16, 2002. There is also an introductory mail-in rebate offering on the ViaVoice for Windows Release 9 Standard Edition between August 14, 2001 and February 16, 2002 with no previous purchase required.