Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Top 10 Stories of 2014: 3. When Companies Collide

Did you get our This year in Assistive Technology podcast? You can listen to that now and know the top 3. Meanwhile, we continue our written recap of the top 10 biggest and most influential stories of 2014 on Blind Bargains. This year's panel included Jeff Bishop, J.J. Meddaugh, Jamie Pauls, Alena Roberts, and Joe Steinkamp. Number 3 involves a colossal merger.

When I heard a rumor at CSUN that two of the perennial players in assistive technology were about to merge, I had to do a double-take. Actually, I had a hard time believing such a merger was actually possible. But alas the next month, the news came out that GW Micro and AI Squared had merged.

This merger combines the makers of two popular products: GW Micro's Window-Eyes screen reader and AI Squared's ZoomText magnification suite, and when you take a step back and look at this union, it just makes a lot of sense. Many people transition from being fully sighted to low-vision to totally blind. Having a company that can serve the needs of both low-vision and totally blind individuals just makes sense. One need only to look at the synergies created between Freedom Scientific's JAWS and MAGic products to see how this can be of potential benefit.

It will take awhile for the two companies to combine their products, if this is even something they want to consider. But the sharing of resources is something that already seems to be reaping dividends. AI Squared, as a market leader, can bring some promotional leverage to GW Micro who often was seen as an afterthought to other screen readers. GW Micro's existing partnerships with Microsoft and other companies may also prove to become mutually beneficial.

As a company, you can stand still and become reactionary, or you can be bold and try to position yourself for the next decade. Time will tell if this merger was the right move, but it certainly seems to help the prospects for both companies in the near-term.

As a side note, both companies have decided to keep their offices in their respective cities, mitigating the need to move to another state to keep a job. That's indicative of how these giants have treated their employees over time. In essence, it's just two big families joining together.

Two to go, and we'll talk about them shortly.

Category: Articles

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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.

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