Speech software introduced by Gates

The software, introduced by the Microsoft chairman, marks the company's entry into the market for software that powers telephone speech-recognition systems.

On the same day the European Union slapped Microsoft with a record fine and behavioral sanctions for antitrust law violations, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates appeared in San Francisco to promote the company's entry into a new market. During a keynote address at the company's VSLive conference, Gates said Microsoft's entry into the market for software that powers telephone speech-recognition systems would leverage its high-volume, low-cost approach. "Speech has been a Holy Grail for a long time in computer interaction," Gates said. "For a certain class of application, it is mainstream now with this software." Microsoft Speech Server 2004, released Wednesday, will sell for $18,000 per CPU; a version limited to a smaller number of callers will sell for $8,000. That's a hefty discount over competing products, Microsoft says, informs Informationweek.com

Chairman Bill Gates unveiled on Wednesday Microsoft Corp.'s latest foray into business computing with Speech Server 2004 and an updated version of its software for mobile phones. The world's largest software maker has been expanding its product offerings as it targets a wider base of business customers, but its efforts so far have been overshadowed by the wide reach of its Windows, Office and server software for networked computers.

"There's a huge range of scenarios that this new speech capability will be used for," Gates told an audience of developers at a conference in San Francisco.

Gates made no reference to Wednesday's decision by the European Commission to pay a record 497 million euro ($606 million) fine for violating EU antitrust law and to give competitors in audio-visual software and servers a fairer chance to compete "because the illegal behavior is still going on," report Reuters.com

According to News.com.com the company has tweaked its pocket Internet Explorer browser to allow Web pages to be read in a single column, eliminating the need for horizontal scrolling--a feature that's also reminiscent of Palm-based devices.

"We continue to learn from both our customers and our competitors," said Ed Suwanjindar, Microsoft lead product manager. "We definitely strive to both set the standard and meet the standard that's out there."

In addition to the Windows Mobile announcement, Gates will also introduce a "Community Technical Preview" version of the company's forthcoming Visual Studio 2005 developer software. A final version of the product, formerly code-named Whidbey, was originally set to ship later this year but has been delayed until 2005.

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