Release Date: 
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind Commends Microsoft and GW Micro for Groundbreaking Accessibility Partnership

Window-Eyes Screen Reader Now Available for Free to Many Microsoft Office Users

Baltimore, Maryland (January 14, 2014): The National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s leading advocate for equal access to technology by the blind, today commended Microsoft Corporation and GW Micro for their announcement of a partnership that makes GW Micro’s Window-Eyes screen reader available for free to users of Microsoft Office 2010 or higher.  More details about this groundbreaking offer are available at

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The announcement of this historic partnership between Microsoft and GW Micro is truly revolutionary.  For the first time, users of Microsoft Office 2010 or later will not have to pay hundreds of dollars in order to obtain an accessibility solution that will allow them to take advantage of the features of Office and Windows.  This partnership has the potential to make access to employment, education, and other opportunities more readily available to blind people everywhere.

“The usefulness of any screen reader product, of course, is limited by the degree to which other products are compatible with it,” Dr. Maurer continued.  “The National Federation of the Blind seeks collaboration with software manufacturers, Web developers, and other technology innovators in order to ensure that blind users have full and equal access to their products and services.  Microsoft and GW Micro are removing a significant barrier to obtaining screen access technology.  Developers of mainstream technology, as well as the businesses, institutions, and governmental entities that use it, must continue to do their part by making sure that screen reader users have full access to what they produce, procure, and deploy.”