Feeds

Orange postpones Wildfire closure

Just for a month though

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

Orange has been forced to delay the scrapping of its Wildfire voice recognition system by four weeks after being rocked by criticism from unhappy punters.

The mobilephoneco had blamed "declining numbers" for its decision to ditch Wildfire at the end of May. But after much public criticism of its decision - especially from blind and visually impaired users who rely on Wildfire to make their calls - Orange agreed to postpone the closure of the voice activated digital personal assistant for a month.

Orange is also offering its visually impaired punters free TALKS voice recognition software as a replacement for its Wildfire service.

A spokesman for the company told The Register: "The closure of Wildfire has been delayed by four weeks and is now due for closure on 1 July. This is to ensure that our customer with sensory disabilities have time to transfer to the TALKS voice recognition software package we are offering as a replacement service."

Despite this offer, there are still plenty of people unhappy at the way Orange has handled its decision to close of Wildfire. A campaign web site set up to lobby Orange has received a steady stream of comments from customers hacked off at the company's heavy-handed approach. It's even become a sounding board for one "Orange employee" lamenting at the way the company has "gone down hill drastically over the last three years".

While campaigners continue to lobby Orange, there is at least one punter who remains optimistic.

After complaining to Orange he received the following email: "Orange can confirm that it is no longer offering the majority of its customer base the voice-recognition answerphone service Wildfire. Existing Wildfire customers will still be able to use the service to the same high standard and we will continue to offer Wildfire to visually impaired customers who request the service. However, the service will no longer be available to the majority of our customers.

"Orange is currently developing a number of similar voice-recognition services which are due to be released in the next 12 months. These will be delivered as a portfolio of 'needs-based' services allowing customers to mix and match the level of voice-recognition integration they require. Therefore, it would not make sense to continue offering Wildfire to customers with the new services being released shortly." ®

Related stories

Orange blasted for extinguishing Wildfire
Orange snuffs out Wildfire
Orange and Microsoft push data at business

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.