Microsoft Acquires Developer of Handwriting Recognition

Microsoft has acquired Aha Software, which has designed a new way of inputting handwriting into digital devices.

But Microsoft declined to specify financial terms of the acquisition or how it plans to incorporate Aha's technology into its products.

Aha's InkWriter, a US$129 package released for Windows 3.1 in 1993, is based on its SmartInk electronic ink technology, says Greg Stikeleather, president and CEO of Aha.

The technology manipulates characters in handwritten form, instead of turning them into typewritten text as handwriting recognition technology does. The text can then be edited in the same way as with a word processor, Stikeleather says.

"This is one [area] where it takes a big marketing presence to make people take it seriously," says Esther Dyson, president of EDventure Holdings Inc., a New York consultancy. "With Microsoft behind them, they have a much better chance of getting the product out to millions of people."

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