Microsoft buys Entropic for voice recognition

Microsoft has bought Entropic, which makes speech recognition software and toolkits, for an undisclosed sum.

Microsoft intends to begin integrating Entropic technology into its existing products, Microsoft said in a written statement, which also underscored the importance of the deal for bringing speech recognition to Windows platforms.

Entropic engineers, mostly stationed in the company's Washington, DC office, will be moved to Microsoft's Redmond, Washington, headquarters where they will work on the software giant's speech application programming interface (SAPI). The speech APIs are used by developers of speech engines and applications.

Entropic's Washington, DC office will close. Its office in England, will remain open. Steve Young, Entropic vice president of engineering and chief scientist, will stay there and keep working with Cambridge University, where he is chairman of the Speech, Vision and Robotics Group. There already is a Microsoft research facility at the university.

Brian Corbett, Entropic's chief operating officer, will stay with Microsoft for a limited time to deal with customer transition issues. Paul Finke, president and chief executive officer of Entropic, will leave the company, as will John Shore, founder and vice chairman.

Entropic has withdrawn current toolkits and software developer kits from the market, according to a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section of the company's Web site. Customers currently under maintenance contracts with Entropic will receive refunds. Limited technical support will be offered for the remainder of existing maintenance contracts, but for no more than 12 months.

The company will not offer releases with new features, but expects to provide a free final release of its toolkits and software developer kits, incorporating recent changes. The final release is expected to be out in December, according to the Entropic Web site.

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