Microsoft and Intervoice Create Sales, Marketing and Technology Alliance Aimed at Making Speech Technology Mainstream

REDMOND, Wash., and DALLAS, Oct. 7, 2002 — Microsoft Corp. and Intervoice Inc., the world leader in converged voice and data solutions, today announced a strategic alliance that will make open, standards-based speech solutions more accessible to Web developers and enterprise customers. Seeking to make speech technology mainstream, the two companies will engage in sales, marketing and technology development for the upcoming Microsoft®
.NET Speech platform, a Speech Application Language Tags (SALT)-based solution that will make it faster, easier and more economical for customers to develop and deploy large-scale enterprise telephony and multimodal speech-enabled applications, such as interactive voice response (IVR), customer relationship management (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications.

“This alliance signals a paradigm shift in the industry from proprietary systems to Web-based speech solutions that are based on open standards and leverage new and existing Web investments,”
said Brian Strachman, a senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR.
“Microsoft’s speech technologies are making it faster and easier than ever before for developers and enterprises to extend their Web investments with speech. Through its support of the Microsoft .NET Speech platform, Intervoice will be able to provide its customers with greater flexibility and choice, as well as increased productivity, cost savings, a high return on investment and valuable new business opportunities.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the parties will have a strategic alliance in which Intervoice will deliver and deploy SALT, ASP.NET and Microsoft .NET Speech platform-based applications. In addition, Intervoice will integrate its telephony call management technologies with the Microsoft .NET Speech platform and will port its packaged and vertical applications to SALT to be operable on the Microsoft .NET Speech platform. These technologies and solutions will be made available to Microsoft and Intervoice customers, business partners and application developers.

The two companies also will focus on delivering ASP.NET and SALT-based speech solutions to enterprise customers in a wide range of industries that use or could benefit from IVR technology, in addition to new industries or applications that have not been traditional targets for speech enablement. As part of this cooperative effort, Intervoice will develop tools that are compatible with the .NET Speech platform. Further, the two companies will engage in joint promotion of the Microsoft .NET Speech Software Development Kit (SDK), a set of SALT-based speech application development tools and speech controls released by Microsoft in May. To date, thousands of Web developers have begun using the Microsoft .NET Speech SDK Version 1.0 beta, laying the groundwork for the industry growth of telephony and multimodal speech-enabled Web applications.

“Intervoice shares Microsoft’s vision for the broad deployment and adoption of SALT-based telephony and multimodal speech applications among developers, enterprise customers, telecommunication service providers and end users,”
said Bob Ritchey, president of Intervoice.
“This relationship represents the dedication of both Intervoice and Microsoft to the innovation and deployment of first-class technology. Intervoice is proud to support the SALT-based Microsoft .NET Speech platform as its preferred telephony and multimodal solution.”

“Intervoice excels at giving customers the speech applications and solutions they need to take advantage of revolutionary new business opportunities and stay ahead of the competition,”
said Kai-Fu Lee, vice president of the Natural Interactive Services Division at Microsoft.
“Relationships such as the one we’ve announced today between industry leaders Intervoice and Microsoft are critical for making speech technology available to a broad customer base, including IVR and call center vendors, and expanding the ecosystem that will make speech a mainstream feature of Web applications.”

Intervoice Leadership and Expertise

With more than 800,000 installed ports handling millions of mission-critical calls each day, Intervoice has been a pioneer of voice automation technology since its inception in 1983. Using the Omvia(TM) platform and the Intervoice InVision®
development environment, Intervoice leverages its expertise in designing speech user interfaces and applications to develop call automation solutions that enable enterprises to realize the business benefits of speech technology.

The Intervoice InVision application development environment allows businesses to quickly prototype and deploy multimedia applications, such as voice portals with speech recognition, text-to-speech applications and Web interfaces. Using InVision, application developers can manipulate XML-formatted data to retrieve information from the Web or enterprise applications to interact with callers in real time using voice recognition, recorded voices and text-to-speech technologies.

Microsoft .NET Speech Platform

The Microsoft .NET Speech platform is a SALT-based multimodal and telephony-enabled solution for developing Web-based speech applications that will span multiple clients such as PCs, telephones, wireless personal digital assistants (PDAs) and next-generation laptop computers such as the Tablet PC. The platform is a central component of the company’s comprehensive SALT-based product offerings that will expand and facilitate speech-enabled Web applications for the broad market. Incorporating both telephony and speech recognition technologies, the Microsoft platform represents a superior infrastructure for building, deploying and operating speech-enabled Web applications and services.

Among its many features, the Microsoft platform will offer world-class speech recognition functionality and support both telephony and multimodal devices. For telephony applications, the platform will contain SALT-based voice browser software that will support speech-only access through traditional telephones and cellular phones. To enable multimodal access and effectively provide both speech and visual input and output, a SALT-based speech interpreter may be added to clients such as GUI cellular phones, PDAs and smart clients such as the Tablet PC and Pocket PC. The platform also will offer third-party vendors the ability to add existing speech recognition and text-to-speech engines and help provide scalable, reliable and secure core speech processing services. Speech-enabled Web applications running on the platform may be developed using extensions to Microsoft Visual Studio®
.NET, consisting of SALT-enabled ASP.NET controls for speech programming as well as sophisticated grammar and prompt editing tools for speech application creation.

About Intervoice

With more than 21,000 systems deployed around the globe, Intervoice is the world leader in converged voice and data solutions. It provides the applications, tools and infrastructure that enable enterprises and carriers to attract and retain customers and promote profitability. Omvia, the company’s open, standards-based product suite, is a highly scalable, universal architecture with flexible configuration options suitable for deployment in enterprises of all sizes and the world’s largest networks. The Omvia platform provides natural language recognition of large vocabularies, text-to-speech conversion and speech authentication. Omvia also delivers extensive connectivity to legacy, enterprise and Web-based data sources, as well as comprehensive computer telephony integration (CTI) capabilities. Integrated graphical tools make application development and systems management easier.

Intervoice is headquartered in Dallas with offices in Europe, the Middle East, South America and Asia Pacific. More information is available at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft and Visual Studio are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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