However, L&H already lost one of its premier customers, Visteon, a major supplier
to the auto industry, which took L&H to court after L&Hs financial irregularities came
to light and before the Chapter 11 filing.
Other customers are already looking to "swap out" L&H technology, according to
Steve Ehrlich, an executive with L&H rival Nuance Communications, in Menlo Park,
The problem, however, is that L&H has numerous high-profile customers, especially
in the automotive market, who rely on its technology.
"Microsoft recommends L&H for its AutoPC products," noted Bill Meisel, president of
TMA Associates, a speech technology research company in Tarzana, Calif.
Microsoft officials declined to comment on L&H.
Another tier-one automotive supplier is Delphi Delco Electronics Systems in Troy,
Mich. Currently L&H is supplying the speech technology behind Delphi's in-vehicle
CommuniPort Infotainment PC System, which among other features will allow drivers to
navigate the radio and music systems in the car by voice. Delphi is also set to launch
its Mobile Productivity Center later this month using L&H technology for voice dialing
and Web surfing.
So far, it appears that Delphi is not abandoning L&H.
"We are watching the situation like every customer," said Milton Beach, a Delphi
spokesman who added they are still expecting to ship products on time.
Barring major desertion by its software engineers, L&H still has one market-leading
"There are not many alternatives like embedded-speech technology. It is a broad-
based technology that people are using a lot, and there are still limited sources,"
TMA's Meisel said.
Speech analyst Amy Wohl agrees that L&H is a technology leader in some areas of
They have done a lot of work in natural language processing, and they have
extraordinary people in that place," Wohl said.
However, speech technology requires a huge investment to get to a certain level,
Mesiel added, and that may be at the heart of L&H's problem.
Speaking as a competitor who understands the industry, Nuance's Ehrlich believes
L&H should have selected one or two areas to focus on.
"They tried to consume too much, too quickly, [when they bought] Dragon and
Dictaphone. Their stated strategy was they were leaders because they had all the bases
covered, text to speech, translation, dictation, speech recognition. You could argue
that, that strategy failed because no one company can be successful in so many things,"