Dragon 13 Premium Discontinued, Nuance Recommends Upgrading to Professional Individual 15

Dragon 13 Premium Discontinued
“They can pry my copy of Dragon 13 Premium from my cold, dead hands.” (Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unplash)

Nuance is officially dropping support for Dragon 13 Premium in the New Year. For a product that was released in 2014 and has been updated twice since (to Professional Individual versions 14 and 15), that’s no big surprise; however, it continues to be sold online so unless you have a very specific need for it, nobody should buy a new copy now. I’ve also heard some anecdotal rumblings from several users that 13 Premium has had some reliability issues following some recent Windows 10 updates. Here’s Nuance’s statement:

Dragon Premium is being discontinued.

With the new, simplified configuration of Dragon desktop solutions, Dragon Premium 13 will be discontinued and withdrawn from the market. Because customers purchasing Dragon Premium 13 own a perpetual license to the solution, they may continue using it. However, Nuance will no longer provide support or updates for the solution after January 1, 2019. Additionally, patches or upgrades that individual consumers or organizations apply to computers running these solutions (e.g. operating system patches) could potentially cause the solutions to stop functioning or function in an unintended manner.”

The company has been offering steep discounts on an upgrade to 15 Professional Individual to customers using 13 Premium via email or the built-in Update Manager. Interestingly, they mention the offer is valid until October 31, 2018 – it’s around this time of year that I would have expected a whole new version of Dragon to appear, so maybe they are holding off for another year. This could make sense, as version 15 is currently very stable and has recently received a welcome update.

Nuance’s reference to “the new, simplified configuration of Dragon desktop solutions” signifies that the Dragon Professional Individual branding will remain consistent across both the PC and Mac products. This means the Dragon NaturallySpeaking name will finally bite the dust after 21 years – no bad thing, given the confusion the different names for these similar products can cause.


26 thoughts on “Dragon 13 Premium Discontinued, Nuance Recommends Upgrading to Professional Individual 15”

  1. I got the message earlier today and I’m annoyed by this – I only bought Dragon Premium 13 in February this year. If I’d wanted Professional I would have bought it, and I would imagine they’d taken this decision by then so I consider they sold it under false pretences. It’s a big jump in cost, so the dilemma is whether to go for the discounted upgrade or keep Premium until it falls over without support,, at which point I’ll be forced to pay full cost for the extra for bells and whistles I don’t need.

    It also means there isn’t an affordable entry-level product – a really bad business strategy as far as I can see.


  2. I have been using Dragon for a number of years and only recently upgraded to 13. Got a phone call warning me of the stoppage of support for 13 but could buy 15 for $99. Felt like being coerced (blackmailed) to buy the new version. Believe they should give me the new version based upon rationale. Disappointed! LouLile@yahoo.com


  3. I just don’t feel like spending another $99 + tax for a product that does not really do the job better. It may be wiser to skip 15 and get 16 next year. Surely there will be more improvements.


  4. What I find MORE confusing is referring to two VERY different products (Dragon NS for Windows and Dragon Dictate for Mac) with the same name. They are very different and don’t work at all like each other. Don’t you think that’s MORE confusing?


    1. Possibly. The Mac and PC versions share several traits now – same Deep Learning speech engine, transcription functionality, batch transcription etc – though they are very different products in some ways, as you mention. But without a complete rewrite of the Mac program (something I simply cannot ever see happening), this is how it’ll be.

      ‘Dragon Home’ is now the name for the consumer product and ‘Dragon Professional Individual’ the more feature-laden one, irrespective of platform. Although to add to the confusion, ‘Home’ doesn’t exist on the Mac at all!


      1. Right, but all of that stuff is hidden. It’s the interface, and specifically how you correct errors and teach it new words, that are so different (IMO backwards) from how DNS works, that I couldn’t wrap my head around it.


  5. Scott, I’m a writer working on a book that will require hundreds of hours of interviews, and an thinking of buying Dragon and using the “voice writing” technique to transcribe. I have a new MacBook Pro and was planning based on your advice doing Parallels with the PC version of Dragon Premium 13. But now that 13 is discontinued, I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on whether it’s worth buying that cheaper functional version of 13 that’s still out there and upgrading later or biting the bullet for professional 15 now?


    1. I would bite the bullet and get version 15, Mike. Even if you are simply running Windows 10 in a virtual machine via Parallels, it will still install a lot of updates over time and any one of these could “break” your version of Dragon 13 (which won’t receive a fix if this happens).

      If you were running Windows 7 or 8/8.1 then it’s a different story as they only receive security patches, not OS updates. But for Windows 10 users, version 13 no longer makes sense.


  6. I’m completely irritated since I bought Dragon speak from Amazon, just to find out after installing it that the updates will discontinue, So stupidly I buy the “upgrade” another 100.00. After installing the update.. (I think I installed it) I get another message saying that the upgrade I just upgraded too will also be upgraded at the same date as the first. So it wants me to do another update?!!!! Also the voice recognition is crappy and the web browser extension it had me download doesn’t work. It also shows that I am not using the updated version, but the original version. I can’t even find Dragon Speak 13 on my computer or in the downloaded programs. I’m very irritated.


    1. You probably need to go into Control Panel and completely uninstall version 13 before installing 15. Make sure to export your vocabulary from 13 first; this can then be imported into the new version of Dragon.

      Doing a straight “upgrade” isn’t advisable as 15 uses a completely new speech recognition engine (Deep Learning) that won’t be fully compatible with your 13 profile (which used the BestMatch engine). You will need to create a new profile in 15 and train it from scratch – a pain, I know, but essential for high accuracy with the new Deep Learning algorithm.

      Also, after installing 15 make sure to upgrade to the latest 15.3 update – you can either attempt to do this from the Help menu or by downloading it manually here: http://nuance.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/26894/~/information-on-dragon-professional-individual-15.3


  7. OK, I’m kinda confused. Is there a difference between the Dragon 13 Home and the Dragon Professional that they are discontinuing… or are they the same product?


    1. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Home and Premium have both been discontinued. Dragon 15 Home and Professional Individual are the ‘current’ versions. In all cases, Home is a consumer version that only supports dictation at your computer; you cannot transcribe files from recordings or add custom words/phrases to the vocabulary (unlike Professional Individual).


  8. I just bought Pro 15, my first purchase of dragon (although it sounds like a new version should be out in the fall?). One of the changes seems to be that you can’t choose the engine. In the book you mention Best Match V versus IV and here the deep learning one. But when I check the info on the profiles I’ve made in pro 15, they all say Best Match IV under engine. Does that sound right or like I’m missing something?


    1. I researched this for a client recently and think the options you have been given are down to the language selection during setup. If you select to install all the languages and later choose one of those as your profile, it could be that what you have picked is not compatible with the Deep Learning algorithm. Therefore, it is reverting to the older BestMatch IV.

      When you select any English profile, whether US or UK or any other, the Deep Learning engine is the only option (BestMatch is no longer even mentioned). I have looked into whether only English profiles are compatible with the latest speech recognition engine but there is virtually no information on this so I am only making assumptions based on what I have seen.


  9. Saw your thread on premium versions being discontinued. My son is looking to use Dragon to work on script writing, and so needs to be able to use the option of setting up his own custom commands. Without having to spend a ton of money, which version would you recommend? (Reason he is needing Dragon is that his wrists are messed up and he can’t use them much, so Dragon seems like a good option for him to be able to continue writing. Thanks Scott.


  10. i have version 13 and just lost everything from an old computer,so now a new computer needs to install my DNS and I have lost the serial numbers. Scott I lost my right arm-car accident- 5 years ago and I rely on dragon for a lot of my correspondence, but I am 78 years old and really don’t want the cost or the learning that goes with the newer version. Can you help me install this version 13 with a new serial number or something?


  11. Do you think Nuance will release version 16 anytime soon?
    Am thinking of purchasing version 15 professional individual after purchasing your book, but if version 16 is going to be release in a few months, I might wait for the newer version.

    Or do you feel that the wait is useless and that I should just go ahead and get version 15?

    If version 16 won’t be coming out anytime this year (2020), do you think they’ll be new release in 2021?

    Thanks, Scott.


    1. This is genuinely impossible to answer. Nuance always used to release new versions on a roughly annual update cycle; that all stopped with version 15. New releases normally happen in August or September but since the last version came out in 2016, version 16 is years overdue.

      Updates seem to have stalled at 15.3 Professional Individual while the Group version is on 15.5 now. This contains some important stability updates including full Office 365 compatibility that really should have made it to DPI. I would argue that since updates have now stalled, a new version could be imminent but this is mere guesswork.

      If you are not desperate to purchase anything in the next couple of months then it may be worth hanging on but, again, it is just as likely version 16 won’t appear. Don’t forget that Nuance also have a 30 day return policy, so if a new version does come out you could always get your money back or request an upgrade. Finally, any new version will effectively be beta tested by users, so you may be better off with the current stable version for a while anyway.


      1. Have you heard anything more about Professional Individual V16 , Scott? I see conflicting info… And your assessment of benefits / impacts since MicroSoft appears to have bought Nuance as well? (wow I’d missed that one Apr-2021?)


      2. No news on DPI 16. Dragon Group was just upgraded to 15.71, so I wouldn’t expect anything for DPI in the near future.

        As for Microsoft…I’ll have a blog post coming on that soon. The acquisition should complete next month, so we may know more after that.


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