Allegations of financial improprieties aside, the stepping down of Lernout & Hauspie's founders Jo Lernout and Pol Hauspie from senior management positions is a sign of deeper turmoil about the basic direction of the company. Gartner believes Lernout & Hauspie will weather the present storm, however, because of its strong underlying technologies and product diversity.
Lernout & Hauspie has built itself into
Lernout & Hauspie will probably take a more licensing-oriented approach for its office-dictation products in the future, while being forced to adopt a service-oriented approach in the telephone-based speech recognition area. While Lernout & Hauspie itself is probably too large to tempt another to buy it, it's quite conceivable that the company might try to unload one of its divisions--for example, its health care dictation business.
In the final analysis, Lernout & Hauspie's great strength is its underlying diversity of technologies, with products ranging from embedded speech recognition for automobiles to dictation and natural language control software for home computers. The company's financial woes and management shake-up will be unsettling for a time, but may be the stimulus it needs to get back on track.
(For related commentary on speech recognition, see TechRepublic.com--free registration required.)
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