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There are numerous other reasons which might cause a company to acquire a rival, like gaining an expanded geographic reach, a larger customer base, a broader product line, etc.Like oligopolies, duopolies, cartels, and other environments in which a few companies control all or a significant portion of an industry, consolidations alter the balance of power in an industry.But Windows doesn't use the same speech engine as Office or other Microsoft products at this time; it uses legacy Microsoft speech technology.So far, no word back from the Windows team on what it's planning on this front. The Windows team is keeping its cards close to the vest.The new API and SDK will provide speech-to-text; speech-to-intent; speech translation and custom keyword-spotter invocation.

Office also is planning to replace the current dictation engine, based on Dictate technology developed by the Microsoft Garage incubator, with the new service/SDK."Microsoft is planning to move Office Dictation to the Microsoft Speech Service and unified SDK when it becomes generally available.

Microsoft is committing to handle all 28 spoken languages in the one unified Speech SDK."We don't have all that today, but this (Speech preview) is a good first step," said Rob Chambers during last week's Speech SDK session.

The preview supports Windows 10, Linux and Android (via the Speech Devices SDK), and works with C#, C and Java currently.

In 1986, nine large accounting firms dominated the industry.

But in 1987, Klynveld Main Goerdeler (KMG) merged with Peat Marwick Mitchell to create KPMG Peat Marwick, reducing the number of top-tier players to the "Big Eight." Then in 1989, Ernst & Whinney merged with Arthur Young, and Deloitte Haskins & Sells merged with Touche Ross, further consolidating the industry to the "Big Six." In 1998, the merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand created the "Big Five," and the dissolution of Arthur Andersen in 2002 left the "Big Four."Another, more recent example can be found in the online brokerage business, where after several rounds of consolidation, three major competitors have emerged: E*Trade (following its acquisitions of Brown Co and Harris Direct), Ameritrade (which recently won a bidding war for TD Waterhouse), and Charles Schwab.

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