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Microsoft, Intel invest in Wildfire

Microsoft and Intel join a group of investors providing $12 million to desktop telephony technologies maker Wildfire Communications.

    Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC) today joined a group of investors providing $12 million to desktop telephony technologies maker Wildfire Communications.

    As part of a fourth round of venture capital financing for the Lexington, Massachusetts-based company, Microsoft and Intel said they would invest undisclosed amounts in the company, which makes speech-recognition technology.

    Wildfire and Microsoft earlier this month announced a joint development project to integrate Wildfire services with Microsoft Outlook, due out in the first half of 1998, according to Wildfire representative Leslie Anderson.

    Wildfire combines voice messaging, voice dialing, and call routing with a voice-activated computer interface to enhance telephone communications, according to the company. Employing voice-recognition technology, its services help users manage telecommunication, such as setting up conference calls or routing calls to mobile, office, or home phones.

    Though Anderson said venture capital firms Greylock Capital and Matrix Partners rounded out the latest group of investors, she did not disclose the individual amounts each investor contributed.

    Wildfire's current product line consists of Enterprise Wildfire, targeted at small companies and workgroups; Network Wildfire, a service offered by public telephone network carriers; and Wildfire Gold, a high-end subscription service.

    The current Wildfire system costs about $150 to $200 a month per user.

    Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network.