AOL Acquires Voice Portal

America Online Inc. (AOL) Thursday announced the acquisition of voice portal Inc. for an undisclosed amount. AOL plans to use's voice recognition services to offer its Web content via telephone, said a company statement.

Using spoken or voice commands, members will be able call in and access AOL's online content over the telephone, including stock quotes, traffic information, weather reports and sports and movie information. will provide the technology that helps the AOL system recognize spoken commands and provide the text-to-speech tool that will execute the delivery of the content over the telephone.

AOL currently has 23 million members and claims that's acquisition will add the remote capability that will move "the AOL experience beyond the PC" and give members access to the Internet "simply by talking with it." International Inc. stands to gain from AOL's acquisition of It made an initial investment of US$1 million in and stands to gain $23 million after AOL's investment, the company said in a separate statement.

Vendors are showing heavy interest in voice and speech-recognition websites. AT&T Corp. recently made a $60 million investment in Tellme Networks Inc. [See "Vendors Talk Up the Potential of Voice Portals" May 26].

AOL, in Dulles, Virginia, can be reached at +1-703-448-8700 or at, in Sunnyvale, California can be reached at +1-408-747-7330 or at

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