L&H users get reassurance

New Zealand users of Lernout & Hauspie's speech recognition software are being assured that product supply and support will be maintained despite the company filing for bankruptcy protection in the US.

New Zealand users of Lernout & Hauspie's speech recognition software are being assured that product supply and support will be maintained despite the company filing for bankrupcty protection in the US.

A spokesperson for New Zealand distributor Roadshow Entertainment says "we're pretty relaxed" about the situation.

"We're in contact with Lernout & Hauspie about it," the spokesperson says.

Computerworld inquiries directed at the company's Sydney office were referred to regional headquarters in Singapore, where no one was available to answer questions about the likely fate of the organisation.

The company, which last year bought the maker of well-known voice recognition package Dragon Dictate, Dragon Systems, is based in Belgium with an office in the US. Recently appointed chairman Roel Pieper, who was brought in to get the company's dodgy finances in order, says it is not going to splinter.

"We are going to focus on preserving what we have, not on spinning it off," says Pieper, who asked for "restraint" on speculation that the company's next step would be selling off parts in order to satisfy its creditors.

Lernout & Hauspie is under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged improper business practices in relation to Asian subsidiaries and says $US100 million is missing from the coffers of its South Korean unit.

L&H is still very much in heavy weather. "By no means are we in a safe haven, but at least we can see a haven," says Pieper. "We have a number of critical steps to go through."

One of those steps is getting short-term financing.

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