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Crunchy Technologies and IBM Partner to Deliver Accessible I/T Solutions

Relationship Cited by National Organization On Disability as Significant for Disabled Persons

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ARLINGTON, Va. & ARMONK, N.Y. - 20 Nov 2002: Crunchy Technologies and IBM today announced a business relationship that will create an impressive set of web technology solutions vital to persons with disabilities.

Under United States law, Section 508 of the 1998 Rehabilitation Act, all federal agencies are required to make their electronic and information technology accessible to persons with disabilities. The law was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology to disabled persons, create new opportunities for people with disabilities and to encourage further
development of these technologies, called "accessibility" or "assistive" technology.

In the agreement announced today, Crunchy Technologies, a recognized leader in web and desktop accessibility technologies for the government sector, will provide IBM first right of refusal on most of its accessibility services engagements. It also will license IBM's Home Page reader technology, which helps visually impaired persons access and use the Web. IBM will license Crunchy's PageScreamer(TM) product suite for use within IBM.

Both Crunchy Technologies and IBM said the agreement was intended to broaden their relationship that would include joint development of future accessibility products and solutions to complement IBM's existing wide range of accessibility services.

"This relationship is a reflection of information technology accessibility taking a positive step forward for government and mainstream business," said Alan Reich, president of the National Organization on Disability, based in Washington, D.C. "It establishes a platform of leadership for other companies to follow."

According to N.O.D., it is estimated that 800,000 visually impaired persons currently use the Web. More than six million Americans aged 55 or older suffer some vision loss that hinders their use of computers; by 2030 this number is expected to double.

"Crunchy and IBM have broadened our relationship to one strategically focused on accessibility solutions," said Louis J. Hutchinson III, founder and CEO of Crunchy Technologies, Inc. "Our relationship educates organizations about accessibility, it helps organizations establish enterprise checklists for accessibility, and it provides the tools and processes that support the development and testing of accessible IT solutions worldwide."

"Our relationship with Crunchy Technologies provides the global marketplace with some of the most complete accessibility solutions for customers," said Shon Saliga, Director, IBM Accessibility Center.

Both Crunchy Technologies and IBM have a long history of working closely with the US Government. Many agencies within the US Government are focused on accessibility concerns, including the Department of Agriculture and the Defense Information Systems Agency, among others. For more information on this announcement visit http://www.crunchy.com/ibm .

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