Microsoft will make a Daisy plug-in available on Sourceforge early next year which will read Word 2003 and 2007 files out-loud.
Microsoft has long held a lead in the area of assistive technology, with most screen readers used by blind users requiring Microsoft Windows. The new project is open source.
Having a standard format for readers to use should enable more books to be saved in a digital, readable format.
Members of the consortium include organizations aimed at helping the blind around the world. Many leading companies in the assistive technology field, including Microsoft, are listed as "friends and developers."
Perhaps the best-known American individual associated with the group is Gregory Kearney, creator of the DTBMaker programs which enable the creation of Daisy files under several operating systems, including Windows, the Macintosh and Linux.
In an interview for Daisy, Kearney said his motivation for helping is that he is profoundly dyslexic.
I mention this because we usually associate Daisy, and other assistive technologies, with blind users. Many very smart people also have dyslexia. Like Kearney, and like my daughter.