Just one more to go. 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 2 is actually quite a bit related to number 3.
The merger news we talked about with GW Micro and AI Squared was actually not the biggest screen reader news of the year according to our panel. Our number 2 story actually happened very early in 2014, and it also involved GW Micro.
Last January, GW Micro made an announcement that literally was jaw-dropping for many. Anyone who owned a copy of Microsoft Office 2010 or 2013 would be entitled to a free copy of Window-Eyes. With few restrictions, this is the same version that was offered for $895. Office, by comparison, is available starting at around $100 and also comes preloaded on many new laptops. Failing that, one can sign up for Office 365 for $69 per year or a few bucks a month, and Window-Eyes will work with this as well.
Other free alternatives, like NVDA, have existed for several years, but Window-Eyes has included premium support for Office for some time. For those in a business environment who need the power that office provides, Window-Eyes can now be installed for free alongside Office on just about any PC available. Put another way, instead of needing to ask for an $895 accommodation to be productive, one can focus on other potential needs.
Terms of the deal were not released, but we'd wager that GW Micro wouldn't have made this arrangement without a decent return. After all, it certainly had the potential to cut into their sales of Window-Eyes, their primary product. There's a lot of uncertainty surrounding the future of Windows screen readers, especially with potential improvements by Microsoft in Windows 10. This development only makes the future a bit more interesting, and is a major step forward for additional accessibility without additional cost.
Number one is next, and perhaps was one of the easiest picks we've ever had to make.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.