Amazon have acquired leading text-to-speech technology company IVONA Software, IVONA already powers the “Text-to-Speech,” “Voice Guide” and “Explore by Touch” features on Kindle Fire tablets.
IVONA offer voice and language services in 17 languages as 44 different voices and more in development, but Amazon have given no indication as to what they might use the service for in the future. We can guess at rivals to Apple’s SIRI and we know Amazon are likely to launch a smartphone at some time in the near future. It’s also likely that more voice applications will be introduced to the Kindle family. With the aim to make every book every printed available within a minute on the Kindle, it would make also make sense to have them available for the hard of hearing as talking books.
At the end of the day however it might just be simple economics – if you intend to use a company for say the next ten years, it might simply be cheaper to buy them than to pay for their services.