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Amazon has announced that it plans to purchase software developer IVONA for an undisclosed sum. IVONA makes text-to-speech software, and some see the purchase as an indication that Amazon wants to compete head-on with Apple's Siri technology.
CNET's Shara Tibken reported, "Amazon has acquired text-to-speech technology provider Ivona Software for an undisclosed amount, broadening its in-house capabilities as the Internet retailer continues to push its tablet business. The two companies have collaborated in the past, Amazon noted, with Ivona's technology powering the text-to speech, voice guide, and explore by touch features on Kindle Fire tablets."
Alistair Barr from Reuters speculated that the purchase could be "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." He quoted Kerry Rice, an analyst at Needham & Co., who said, "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."
The Inquirer's Carly Page noted, "Ivona offers voice and language portfolios with 44 voices in 17 languages, more than the 15 languages supported by Apple's virtual digital assistant. While details of the buyout were not disclosed, Amazon said that its purchase of Ivona will see the company's technologies coming to its Kindle tablets and, if online speculation is anything to go by, its long-rumoured Kindle smartphone too."
SlashGear's Craig Lloyd commented, "Who knows what Amazon has planned, as they didn’t reveal a roadmap of any kind, but Lukasz Osowski, CEO and co-founder of IVONA, said that they 'are all thrilled that Amazon is supporting our growth so that we can continue to innovate and deliver exceptional voice and language support for our customers.' So, it seems that IVONA will carry on as usual, but simply under new ownership. However, the acquisition could mean that more text-to-speech capabilities could be coming to the Kindle Fire, and could possibly spread to other Kindle devices as well."