Some people were upset when Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) simply started using text-to-speech technology on its devices. But after this acquisition by Amazon, people may be singing a different tune, and in as many as 17 different languages.

Four years ago, Amazon added a text-to-speech feature to the Kindle 2, but that scared authors and the like, because the feature could function like an audiobook without any audiobook royalties being paid. So, Amazon stepped back a little and gave rights holders the choice to allow the feature. However, this clearly didn’t dry up Amazon’s interest in text-to-speech.

Thursday, Amazon announced that it acquired Ivona Software, which is one of the companies leading the way in text-to-speech technology. Amazon already had a marginal relationship with Ivona before the acquisition, as some of the technology was used on the Kindle Fire. Now, Amazon has an even deeper relationship with the company.

With Ivona, Amazon will be able to enhance its own products with text-to-speech in as many as 17 languages and dozens of different voices. Since success in the technology industry is best achieved by leading the way in advancements, the synthesis of Amazon’s strength and Ivona’s technical edge could prove powerful and lead to further innovation in text-to-speech.

The acquisition will not only serve Amazon for its own devices. Amazon will have the options of licensing out the technology to meet the needs of other companies. Though details aren’t available on the amount Amazon paid for the acquisition, Ivona’s patent portfolio could prove beneficial for Amazon in a number of ways.

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