Microsoft Offers New Program for Partners to Capitalize On Growing Speech Industry

REDMOND, Wash., July 9, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. today introduced the Speech Partner Program (SPP), designed to provide additional revenue and profit opportunities for new and existing partners interested in developing, deploying and reselling enterprise-grade speech technology solutions based on Microsoft®
technologies. Through the new program, Microsoft Speech partners will gain competitive advantage by providing large and medium-sized enterprise customers with new and value-added product and service offerings based on the Microsoft Speech Server. The Microsoft Speech Server, the most recent addition to the Windows Server System (TM) family, is designed to enable the delivery of enterprise-grade, mission-critical speech technology solutions for both telephony (voice-only) and multimodal (speech and visual) applications.

“Our goal of making speech a widely available and pervasive technology is not an effort Microsoft is undertaking alone,”
said James Mastan, director of marketing for the Speech Technologies team at Microsoft.
“The Speech Partner Program is designed to facilitate new partner revenue opportunities in a rapidly growing speech marketplace, and enable our partners to deliver high-value, enterprise-grade speech solutions on the Microsoft Speech Server.”

The Microsoft Speech Partner Program will be attractive to companies such as telephony value-added resellers and distributors, systems integrators, Web developers, independent software vendors, Microsoft Certified Partners, and others that seek to build or deploy new speech-enabled applications and systems or extend existing applications with speech functionality. Microsoft will work with these partners to achieve its vision for making speech a mainstream and pervasive technology that is accessible by any device, at any time and from any place. Microsoft partners will be able to offer customers proven speech telephony solutions for customer contact centers and Web self-service applications using standard telephone lines and mobile phones as well as cutting-edge multimodal solutions that extend customers’ speech applications to include graphical user interface-based devices such as PCs, Smartphones, Pocket PCs and Tablet PCs.

“Intel is working closely with Microsoft to lower the entry barriers to speech technology by providing open, modular communications building blocks,”
said Tim Moynihan, director of product marketing for the Network Building Block Division at Intel Corp.
“This will enable the Microsoft ecosystem members to accelerate development time and rapid deployment of speech solutions based on the Microsoft Speech Server.”

Participating Microsoft partners need to complete three in-depth training courses to help companies build the skills necessary to support enterprise-grade solutions. These courses include Speech Applications: Planning, VUI Design and Maintenance; Developing Speech-Enabled Web Applications Using the Microsoft Speech Application Software Development Kit (SDK); and Deploying and Administering Microsoft Speech Server.

“SpeechWorks is committed to realizing our shared vision with Microsoft: to help drive telephony and multimodal speech applications into the mainstream,”
said Steve Chambers, chief marketing officer at SpeechWorks International Inc.
“As an active partner in Microsoft’s Speech Partner Program we expect to apply our field-proven, high-performance speech technologies and unmatched professional services experience in application design and deployment to more customers than ever before, with applications on the Microsoft Speech Server that ensure customers achieve outstanding financial results and high caller satisfaction.”

After the training has been completed, participating partners will enjoy program benefits such as these:

  • Access to industry and Microsoft-specific events

  • Access to special partner collateral, including advertising templates, sales tools and targeted demand-generation materials

  • Discounted rates for Microsoft Speech Technologies training courses

  • Placement in the Speech Partner Program Resource Directory on the Web site

  • Promotion of partners’ products and services through Microsoft marketing efforts

“Intervoice is excited to be a participant in the Microsoft SPP,”
said George Platt, senior vice president of Business Development and Marketing for Intervoice Inc.
“Intervoice has worked closely with Microsoft to develop a Telephony Interface Manager (TIM), which is integrated with the Microsoft Speech Server. As part of the Omvia product framework, the TIM is now available to solutions integrators and independent software vendors deploying the Microsoft Speech Server platform. SI and ISV developers can further enhance their ability to deploy successful speech applications on the Microsoft Speech Server through the use of a comprehensive set of applications, components, grammars and training courses also available from Intervoice that are built on our 20 years of experience in world-class speech application development and system integration. We are pleased to be able to partner with Microsoft to help realize our common goal of making speech mainstream.”

More than 40 companies have already signed up for the program including Ateb Inc., Cadre Technologies, CYGCOM Integrated Technologies Inc., Enterprise Integration Group Inc., Envox Worldwide, Digital GlobalSoft Ltd., First Data Voice Services, Fujitsu Consulting, Gold Systems Inc., GM Voices Inc., HP, HTI Voice Solutions Inc., Intel, Intervoice, Newfound Communications Inc., NextiraOne, Paracon, Pronexus Inc., Redmond Software, Scansoft Inc., TARGUS info, SpeechWorks, TaTa Consulting Services, Vail Systems Inc., Vialto Corp., Vocalocity Inc. and Voice Architects Inc. More information on the Microsoft Speech Partner Program and how to become a Microsoft Speech Partner can be found at . (Editors: Please see related press release available on Microsoft PressPass at .)

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