Rachel (or whoever is actually reading this),
As I was going back through my archives to cull out Nuance addresses for this email, I was alarmed to realize that I have been lobbying Nuance on this subject for two years with no apparent progress. Good grief!
I’m no dummy; I know it’s a common practice in the IT industry for one company to buy out a competitor just to shutter its products. However, if the products aren’t at least nominally maintained, it becomes difficult to protect the intellectual property from being back-engineered by somebody else. I certainly don’t have the resources to do that, but someone could. I’ve always thought that Nuance never fully appreciated what a hot little property the Eloquence speech engine was. Sure, a couple of other speech engines do sound arguably better, but they achieve that by using very few voices set up by engineers. Those packages have no provision for user individualism. Eloquence does, and still it holds its own against the highbrowed competition.
Yet, I can’t really say that Nuance has totally ignored Eloquence. Last I looked, you did still sell the SDK to OEMs as an embeddable package, and it is true that particular market is still 32-bit. However, even that will only last another couple of years. It’s also true that you have a Solaris version, which is 64-bit, so a 64-bit x86 version should be childsplay.
Eloquence is one of those rare pieces of software that reaches a point of virtual perfection, and it basically has. I can’t think of any changes I would make to version 6.1. it has simply become a matter of keeping the SDK updated for current technology. If Nuance has done this, nobody told me.
Let me restate my situation for clarity. I am totally dependent on an application I developed, Xpress-It, for verbal communication. Xpress-It is built around the Eloquence engine, and uses ODBC to communicate with its database. Your software engineers should immediately realize the cliff I’m headed for, as I essentially rev hardware every two years. Both of my “active duty” laptops run Windows 7 x64. It does run 32-bit executables, but, as long as Xpress-It must stay at 32-bit to accommodate Eloquence, so must everything else that uses ODBC. That includes the Office suites. Hopefully, Nuance now recognizes the absolute seriousness of my dilemma. If I cannot convince Nuance to make a x64 SDK at least of Eloquence 6.1 available this year, I will be unable to speak, because other ODBC-dependencies will demand that it be upgraded. As the messages below show, I am already starting to experience that problem.
Yep, buying up the IP of others does have its disadvantages. Sorry.