May 29 2009

Nuance fails ‘Works with Vista’ for Dragon NaturallySpeaking v10 Essentials

image-thumb58 Nuance fails ‘Works with Vista’ for Dragon NaturallySpeaking v10 EssentialsIn August of 2008, Nuance was hit with a tornado of bad PR for releasing a version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking that wasn’t 64-bit compliant. Nuance was already under fire for not addressing customers complaints in v9.

Later in 2008, Nuance said they would be offering a free upgrade to all Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 registered customers so that it would be compatible with 64-bit Vista.

They NEVER said it’s only for the customers who paid for standard, preferred, professional, medical and legal. They never tried to disclose this little secret.

The interesting point to this release is that Nuance was not going to release an update for the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 customers who purchased the ‘essentials’ suite; this was another PR hit for Nuance.

If you don’t find this interesting yet, keep reading.

image-thumb59 Nuance fails ‘Works with Vista’ for Dragon NaturallySpeaking v10 Essentials I had some conversations via email with Peter Mahoney, he’s the SVP and General Manager of Nuance Communications. He does a lot of Twitter and Facebook and blogs for Nuance. He’s pretty easy to get a hold of. He was the one I was dealing/working with over the whole time the ‘essentials’ and while 10.1 was being beta tested.


Realizing this storm of bad PR, Nuance issued this:

we are keenly aware that we need to make some significant improvements in the way that we deliver technical support to our customers. In fact, one of my strategic priorities for this year is to fundamentally change (in a positive way) the way we deliver technical support for Dragon. We are making some very good progress toward those plans – so you can expect to see some changes in our technical support delivery and our support policies over the coming months.

– 1/12/2009


Nuance not only decided not to support ‘essentials’ on the same level as the other suites, but also reneged on their promise to provide the FREE update to ‘essentials’.

In fact they updated their customer database, everyone with ‘essentials’ was marked as an invalid key for the FREE upgrade. Disabling their ability to update.

Having to respond to these claims they said this about ‘essentials’:


There are not that many Essentials customers out there, so we prioritized the 10.1 update later.  They also paid significantly less for the product than other customers – and bought something that had limited functionality.

– 3/27/2009


I’m not sure how you classify customers in this manner, but Nuance was/is, but being presented with this opposition Nuance responded with this:


You are right that we need a solution for Essentials customers. I will work out some options with our product management team for Essentials users. We will also address the bigger Essentials issue.

– 3/27/2009


The thing is, support your product or don’t.

If you have different levels of support and what those levels are, state it. Don’t cloak it and dismiss your customer as just something less than navel lint.

Currently, Nuance policy when you call for support, if you contact Nuance support and act stupid enough they’ll give you the FREE upgrade to Dragon NaturallySpeaking standard. And now your wondering, why’d I say that? like that?

Because of this:


In the interim, we’ve looked at several options for helping our Essentials customers. For those people who come to me having purchased Essentials after genuinely believing that it would support Vista 64 (or in most cases, not realizing that it wouldn’t…), we have provided them with a no charge upgrade to Dragon 10.1 Standard Edition.

– 5/28/2009


Now my opinion is, if you’re going to produce software; support it. If you’re going to treat customer with a different level and treat one inferior to another, then don’t produce that product at all; people just can’t appreciate it. No one likes to be treated inferior.


And now for the Juicy part-

Nuance is now looking at another problem square down the double barrel of Microsoft compliance process.

According to Microsoft documentation, in order for a software vendor to use the phrase ‘Works with Vista’ – “Applications must be tested on Windows Vista Release Candidate software or later. *The application must be tested on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista.*”

– Nuance has NOT done this.

Look at your Dragon NaturallySpeaking box [regardless of version]. It should have that ‘Works with Windows Vista’; mine image-thumb60 Nuance fails ‘Works with Vista’ for Dragon NaturallySpeaking v10 Essentialsdoes.

If this is the case, you’re a victim, and a possible plaintiff. Technically Nuance has not completed there job and therefore owes you a working copy of the product you purchased.

The actual document from Microsoft can be download’d here.

Complaints have started to be filed [] with Microsoft over this issue.  Microsoft seems to be taking this issue seriously. All major relationships with Microsoft have to be investigated and verified.

If Nuance can’t provide a working copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 Essentials, technically this means Nuance has to remove the ‘Works with Windows Vista’ [or at least from the ‘essentials’ box @ Target].

So Nuance is actively making ‘essentials’ customers either lie about being stupid [asking for an upgrade] or making customers upgrade to ‘standard’; both of which are morally and ethically wrong.

Now that this issue has been discovered, Nuance is also being accused of bait-and-switch tactics, which is even more bad news for the PR crew at Nuance. Some users have emailed me in the last few days saying they’ve been submitting complaints to the FTC for bait-and-switch tactics with the ‘essentials’ suite. I can’t see this as anything other than bad.

The general consensus is that people just wanted to be treat equally and they want the company that promised upgrades to stand by their word. It’s a noble concept, but with the posturing strides Nuance has  made with trying put a bright light on the good things they are doing to cover for the bad, this should be interesting; to see if Nuance does care about the little people.

Ironically, Nuance seems to be incapable of or just short of escaping the nuances of basic ‘essential’ support.

I’ll be interested to see what comes out of this one.


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  • TWT

    I received DNS 10 Essentails as a gift. I've wanted to try DNS for some time. However, the version i was given is 32-bit and I'm running 64-bit Win7. Nuance does not have a downloadable 64 bit version, still, and they want $10 to send me a DVD.
    I won't talk about my experience with the terribly-mannered yankee on the telephone at customer service who could have cared less only if her dog had died.
    Fortunately, the one who gave me the gift still has the receipt. She was considering getting the "legal" version and has changed her mind…

    • My opinion is that if Nuance is not going to offer a 64-bit version of the essentials package, they should pull the package all together. There are no free upgrades for it, there's no 64-bit and it doesn't get the same support as the suites so it should be abandoned or avoided at all costs.


  • I purchased Essentials v. 10 in October of last year at Target for $40. It took up so much space on my old computer and I needed it so badly that I bought a new computer. 64 bit Vista, of course. So Nuance Customer Service just told me they would give me Standard for $19.95 plus shipping and handling. This doesn't seem right considering the issues you have raised in this blog post. Do you know if there have been any more recent developments since you posted this information? Thank you very much for making it really easy for me to figure out what's going on here.

    • According to Nuance, if you call them and you genuinely THINK that
      you're supposed to have a 64-bit version of essentials, they'll give
      you standard for free… but i don't know how your supposed to be
      'genuine'… and the SH that they talk to is $15. They won't let you
      download it.

      Personally, I don't think they're going to offer Dragon
      NaturallySpeaking Essentials much longer- since they don't support it
      in 64-bit form.

      Hope this helps.



      L. Henry Jr.

  • james

    I bought dragon naturally speaking-v10-essentials at walmart yesterday (2/20/2010) and it works great on my PC running win7x64. Then I went and picked up another the next day(at the same walmart) for my wife's laptop (also win7x64) only to find (after trying to install it) that it wouldn't work. Then I noticed a small sticker on the bottom of the box stating that it was only for 32bit operating systems, and that a "special upgrade promotion" was included inside the box. The upgrade promotion basically says DO NOT Install this, and to call customer service. From reading your articles (that I wish I'd come across beforehand) I'm not sure about calling. I'm going to talk to the manager of the store about it, and probably just exchange it, if they get another like the first one I bought, in stock.
    BTW the one that works on 64bit is Rev.G and the other is Rev.F the boxes are identical except the small sticker. So it seems like they are quietly slipping patched versions on to store shelves.

    • Last I heard Nuance didn't provide support/upgrades for the
      'Essentials' suite – they're encouraging all those user to upgrade to


      L. Henry Jr.

      • james

        The thanks belong to you sir.
        Perhaps your efforts in bringing them to task on this issue are paying off in some way.

        James Vaughn

  • james

    I went and exchanged it for another revision G. and am posting this now using Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 'essentials' on Windows 7X 64. I didn't call the customer hot line–didn't see any reason to–so I can't speak as to that.
    J. Vaughn

  • When I called about getting the upgrade to v.10 (I couldn't download it) they asked me where I got it and when I said "Target" they said OK, since you got it at Target you only have to pay the $9.95 S&H. That's $10 off the price I was quoted online. Every little bit helps.

  • Chris

    I have windows 7 but my laptop is 32 bit. Will this product be compatable with my laptop?

    • v10 works with Windows 7 – I was in the beta process and it installed fine…
      Thanks for your comments.

      Until next time,

  • Upset Consumer

    I wish that I had read these comments 4 months ago before I purchased this falsely advertised piece of crap software. With regard to the comment that said 'there are not that many Essential customers out there', that just goes to show the arrogance and ignorance of a company that doesn't give two beans about the integrity of a product that THEY put out or how they market it. ALL CONSUMERS ARE IMPORTANT and should not be forced to pay for the mistakes a company makes!!!

  • Joshua

    I bought version 9 a few years back and at the time had a very clunky pc like most people I knew back then. The problem is I tried to install it on my newer Dell Inspiron 530 Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit operating system tonight and to my surprise I got an Error! This is what it says.. Error 1722 There is a problem with this windows installer package. A program run as part of the set up did not finish as expected. Contact your support personnel or package vendor. Where do I go from here? Any Idea's? I'm so mad about this, I paid $99.00 For this product at Staples. Now I don't know about you guys but where I come from $99 is a lot of money for a product that does not work.. Please let me know if you have any idea's and or solutions to this issue. Of course it was a saturday when I installed it which means no support till monday.. grr Thanks ahead of time for any and all responses to this post.

    • I personally didn't have any issues with installing Dragon NaturallySpeaking v9 'back when', but your issue could be the version of the installer. Ensure you have the current version of 'Windows installer' and reboot and make an attempt install again. That's the best advice I can offer at this time.
      I hope this helps…

      Until next time,
      Larry Henry Jr.

  • Gregg Kordelski

    My problem sounds very similar to Joshua's. I also have a Dell Inspiron 530 Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit operating system. I also got Dragon NS but it is the Home edition version 11. When I tried to download the program it said there was no sound card, but up to that point I had just assumed there was because I've had no sound problems. I have a pair of external speakers that work just fine for music, you tube videos, I have even spoken to other folks over the PC. The Tech I spoke with on 7-11.11 insisted that it would work if only I had a sound card, and he was rude, curt and sounded as though he were repeating a policy reminiscient of "dodge & weave". If you have any suggestions I would certainly appreciate hearing them. I had a massive stroke in 2008 that paralyzed my right side, of course I was right handed and so I am typing this one handed. Thanking you in advance. Gregg Kordelski