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  1. Technology
November 26, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

General Magic Inc has bought NeTalk Inc for $1.5m to bolster the voice interfacing capabilities of its Portico online ‘personal assistant’ service. General Magic dropped its interest in handheld operating systems last year to concentrate on the Portico service, but recently released third quarter figures which showed that revenues had dropped by 85%. A spokesperson for the company claimed that the Portico service, which was released on July 30 was already earning revenues but refused to speculate when the company would see profits on the whole of the business. The magicTalk web interface for Portico – which General Magic hopes to improve with patent-pending technology and development support from NeTalk – is key to the success of the Portico concept. The company has retained the services of NeTalk’s founder, George White as director of voice technologies. The interface is intended to allow users – mainly expected to be business travelers – to phone into the General Magic network and access their password-protected Portico information – addresses, meetings and other scheduling data – through the magicTalk interface. The service is also available over the web. The magicTalk interface can also be used as a separate software component and was recently integrated into the financial service by Intuit Corp (CI No 3,535).

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