| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Jan 24 Amazon.com Inc
said on Thursday that it acquired speech-recognition company
Ivona Software, a sign the world's largest Internet retailer may
be looking to develop more services similar to Apple Inc's
Siri voice-based search product.
Amazon did not say how much it paid for Ivona and an Amazon
spokeswoman declined to comment on a purchase price.
Ivona's technology already supports several features on
Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet computers, such as "Text-to-Speech,"
said Dave Limp, who oversees the Kindle business.
"We look forward to building great products to deliver
world-class voice solutions to customers around the world," Limp
said in a statement.
Apple's Siri service on its iPhone smartphones lets users
ask questions and delivers answers, suggestions or actions.
Ivona's text-to-speech technology on Amazon's Kindle Fire HD
tablets reads Kindle e-books aloud to users.
"The Ivona acquisition could provide some technology on the
Kindle to compete with Siri, although I would argue that Siri
has not been all that was expected of it so far," said Kerry
Rice, an analyst at Needham & Co.
Ivona could also help Amazon expand its e-book market to
more people with disabilities, such as the blind, Rice added.
Ivona already works with organizations supporting blind and
visually impaired people, including the Royal National Institute
of Blind People.