Uncertainty hits L&H customers after bankruptcy

With Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products NV (L&H) declared bankrupt earlier this week, some of the company’s customers are wondering about support and future relations, while others say they don’t need L&H service to continue using the software.

The fallen Belgian software star was declared bankrupt Wednesday by the commercial court in its hometown of Ieper, after a financial scandal that unfolded late last year. Poor sales, combined with fraudulent accounting practices uncovered and publicized by the media, eventually forced the speech technology vendor to seek bankruptcy protection.

Five court-appointed liquidators will inventory the company’s assets and sell those to repay creditors. L&H still has bankruptcy protection in the United States, which complicates matters for the liquidators.

Questions hanging over the future of the company’s assets and ongoing research and development are causing concern for some customers.

“It is important for us to have the support of L&H for future enhancement of our service platform. Especially for adapting it to a telecommunication environment,” said Nuno Beires, services and applications manager with PT Inova