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Continuous Speech Recognition Pipes Up at Macworld

Following closely on Dragon Systems’ announcement of plans to develop a version of NaturallySpeaking for the Macintosh last May, both IBM and MacSpeech are raising the stakes for continuous speech recognition technologies on the Mac. Highlighted during Steve Jobs’s Macworld keynote address, IBM’s W.S. "Ozzie" Osborne demonstrated a version of its ViaVoice system for the Mac OS, which both handles continuous speech input from a user and also reads text back using the Mac OS’s existing text-to-speech technology. According to IBM, versions of ViaVoice for U.S. and U.K. English should be available by the end of 1999, with support to follow for other languages; no information on pricing or system requirements has been released. Not to be outdone, Andrew Taylor’s upstart MacSpeech, sporting developers from Articulate Systems’ PowerSecretary, announced an agreement to license continuous speech recognition technology from Philips Speech Processing to create continuous speech recognition products exclusively for the Mac. Although MacSpeech also hasn’t released any details on product pricing or system requirements, they also claim English-language products should be available by the end of 1999.

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