In perhaps the biggest merger news since the creation of Freedom Scientific in 2000, GW Micro, the makers of the Window-Eyes screen reader, has merged with AI Squared, the makers of the ZoomText magnification software. For now, both products will continue to be produced though there is a lot of opportunities for better integration between both programs going forward. GW Micro's staff will remain in Fort Wayne with Dan Weirich becoming Vice President of Business Development for Screen Reading for AI Squared and Doug Geoffray will become the Vice President of Engineering for Screen Reading. "
On GW Micro's main mailing list, Geoffray commented, "To me this merger is a natural fit. Ai Squared, like GW Micro, has a fantastic reputation
in the assistive technology field for not only great products, solutions, technical
support but also about caring for their customers. These ideals are the foundation
of GW Micro and were drop-dead requirements for any merger considerations." The free Window-Eyes for Office offer remains intact as well. The complete press release is below. Stay tuned for more information as we receive it.
Manchester, Vermont and Fort Wayne, Indiana (May 1, 2014) -
Ai Squared , the maker of ZoomText and sitecues ; and GW Micro , the creator of Window-Eyes, have merged into one company. With this merger, the companies will combine their talents to better assist computer users who are blind or visually impaired.
ZoomText is the world's number one screen magnifier and text-to-speech software package that allows people who are visually impaired to use a computer with ease. Window-Eyes is a popular screen reader that enables people who are blind to be fully independent on the computer by translating visual information into speech and/or Braille. "Our mission is to provide a full family of computer accessibility solutions for users who are low vision or blind, whether they access digital information via their desktop, the web or their mobile device," said David Wu, CEO of Ai Squared. "Earlier
this year, we commercially launched sitecues, a product which enables website owners to build accessibility tools right into their websites. Today's merger with GW Micro rounds out our mantra of 'We've got accessibility covered' - with our combined forces, we can now deliver an even wider range of computer access solutions." The need for assistive technology continues to grow. According to the World Health Organization, over 285 million people in the world are considered visually impaired; 39 million of those are blind, and 246 million have moderate to severe visual impairments.
"The merger of Ai Squared and GW Micro brings together two companies that offer great solutions for the millions of Microsoft customers around the world who are blind or visually impaired," said Rob Sinclair, Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft. "We are also delighted that Ai Squared will continue to develop and support the Window-Eyes for Office Offer as many of our customers rely on this screen reading solution to enable access to Windows, Office and other Microsoft products," Sinclair said.
Dan Weirich, Co-founder of GW Micro and now Vice President at Ai Squared, said he is thrilled to incorporate Window-Eyes into the Ai Squared product family. “It’s a natural fit,” Weirich said. “Combining our companies will strengthen Ai Squared’s global presence in the assistive technology industry, allowing us to serve even more customers.”
Weirich noted that many customers using web and computer accessibility tools inevitably progress further along the visual impairment spectrum during their lifetime. As a result, they will require more advanced assistive technology as their needs change. With the merger, Ai Squared will be in a better position to assist those customers, developing products that provide a seamless transition and user experience as customers adapt to their changing vision.
Ai Squared will continue to offer Window-Eyes and its related products as they were previously offered by GW Micro. In addition, a free and fully featured version of Window-Eyes will continue to be available via the Window-Eyes Offer for Users of Microsoft Office as part of the recently announced partnership with Microsoft and GW Micro. The GW Micro team will remain in Indiana as part of the Ai Squared team, which is headquartered in Vermont.
About Ai Squared:
Ai Squared (www.aisquared.com) has been the worldwide leader in assistive technology solutions for people who are visually impaired for over 20 years. The product line is available in over 20 languages and sold in 45 countries through a network of over 350 global distributors. Ai Squared's screen magnification and screen-reading products dramatically improve a computer's usability and friendliness for users who are blind or low vision, raising their level of productivity, satisfaction, and independence. The family of Ai Squared products includes ZoomText, ZoomText Large-Print Keyboard, ZoomText ImageReader, ZoomText Mac, Window-Eyes, sitecues, the ZoomReader iOS app, and the ZoomContacts iPad app.
About GW Micro:
GW Micro, Inc. (www.gwmicro.com ) has been a trusted pioneer in the assistive technology industry since 1990; it has led with innovative, customer-driven solutions, and the GW Micro team has always been proud of its description as the Voice of Vision.Category: Software
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.