IBM, Crunchy alliance focuses on disabled

IBM Corp. and Crunchy Technologies Inc. formed an alliance to sell and service technologies to make Web sites more accessible to people with disabilities.

IBM of Armonk, N.Y., will have a first right of refusal on most of Crunchy's accessibility services engagements. Crunchy of Arlington, Va., will license IBM's home page reader technology, and IBM will license Crunchy's PageScreamer product suite for use with in IBM.

The alliance addresses Section 508 of the 1998 Rehabilitation Act, which requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to persons with disabilities.

"This relationship is a reflection of information technology accessibility taking a positive step forward for government and mainstream business," said Alan Reich, president of the National Organization on Disability in Washington. "It establishes a platform of leadership for other companies to follow."

Both Crunchy Technologies and IBM said the agreement was intended to broaden their relationship, and would include joint development of future accessibility products and solutions to complement IBM's existing accessibility services.

According to the National Organization on Disability, an estimated 800,000 visually impaired persons use the Web. More than 6 million Americans aged 55 or older suffer some vision loss that hinders their use of computers; by 2030, this number is expected to double.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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