Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Top 10 Stories of 2015: 10. A Fusion of Screen Access Flavor

The ballots are in and the votes have been tallied. It's time to count down the top 10 biggest and most influential stories of 2015. This year's panel included Jeff Bishop, Shelly Brisbin, Ricky Enger, Chancey Fleet, J.J. Meddaugh, Jamie Pauls, and Joe Steinkamp.
Each panelist gave us their opinions on the biggest stories in assistive technology and we've compiled their votes to create our annual list. We'll reveal a new story each day on the way to number one and announce the winner on the next Blind Bargains Qast. Let's start out with number 10.

We knew the merger of AI Squared and GW Micro would mean some big changes for ZoomText and Window-Eyes. The merger itself was number 3 on our 2014 list. While we saw a smattering of efficiencies including a combined sales force and a central phone number, the biggest result to date was announced in November with the release of ZoomText Fusion.

AI Squared has been a dominant player in the low vision market for over a decade. But as people gradually lose their vision, they were forced to transition to a competitor's product, namely Jaws. With Window-Eyes under the same roof, ZoomText users can now transition to a screen reader on their own pace while using many of ZoomText's familiar customs. It took several years for Freedom Scientific to mold JAWS and MAGic in a way that allows the two to complement each other, and AI Squared will also need to wrestle with a similar situation. The challenge going forward will be to find a way to enhance the Fusion brand without alienating current ZoomText or Window-Eyes users. Perhaps 2016 will lead to additional benefits from the merged company, such as expanding the free Microsoft Office deal to cover Fusion users. But in 2015, AI Square has given the combined brand some new life, at least for now, and an unfolding story that's worth watching going forward.

We'll talk more about Window-Eyes later in the countdown. What do you think was the biggest story of 2015? You can comment on any of our top 10 posts on our site.

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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