Microsoft Sets March Launch for Speech Server

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-02-19 Print this article Print

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates plans to unveil Speech Server 2004 during a series of speech and developers conferences. The company also says it will offer two editions of the software, one for large deployments and another for smaller enterprises.

Microsoft Corp. will launch its long-awaited Speech Server in March during a series of conferences in San Francisco, the company announced on Thursday. At the same time that it announced new partners for the product, the Redmond, Wash., software maker said company Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates will officially unveil Microsoft Speech Server 2004 on March 24. He is scheduled to hold a keynote speech for the co-located SpeechTEK Spring 2004, VSLive! San Francisco 2004 and Microsoft Mobile Developers Conference events. Microsoft Speech Server, which entered its final beta in December, will be the companys latest addition to the Windows Server System. It includes server software for handling speech recognition and text-to-speech conversions as well as a set of tools for building speech applications in Visual Studio .Net, called the Microsoft Speech Application Software Development Kit (SASDK).
Company officials have said Microsoft hopes to expand the reach of speech-enabled applications to smaller enterprises with its offering. But it also is targeting large deployments.
Along with setting a launch date, Microsoft announced on Thursday that it will offer Speech Server 2004 in two editions: standard edition for small- and mid-size deployments and enterprise edition for larger installations. The company has not disclosed pricing. For specific speech applications, Microsoft is relying heavily on partners. It launched the Microsoft Speech Partner Program in July and said it has increased the number of partners developing applications to more than 60 from about 50 in December. It is expected to detail a range of partner speech applications during the March launch. Microsoft detailed some prototype applications during the last SpeechTEK conference. Click here to read more. Microsofts push into the speech-technology market is being closely watched, partly because Microsoft is a major back of proposed speech standard Speech Application Language Tags (SALT). The Speech Server supports SALT, which is one of two proposed standards competing for predominance in the speech market. The other, VoiceXML, is back by major competitors such as IBM. VoiceXML 2.0 earlier this month moved a step closer to becoming a full-fledged World Wide Consortium standard. Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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