Microsoft purchases speech-recognition firm Nuance for $16 billion


Microsoft has purchased speech-recognition firm Nuance for the princely sum of $16 billion — basically, at $56 (R820) a share. You might think that this is no big deal (besides the money that’s changed hands) but it rather is. You see, Nuance created the technology that Apple’s digital assistant Siri is built around.

But somehow we don’t think Microsoft is after a better digital assistant with this purchase. Nuance is also responsible for Dragon NaturallySpeaking, a speech recognition software used by people with disabilities and those too lazy to type things out by hand. Mostly, though, it’s used in medical situations.

Microsoft, going hard

What does Microsoft want with a company with a background in natural language interfaces and software development? It seems to be a continuation of the company’s medical aims. The tech giant teamed up with Nuance in 2019 to develop ACI, or ambient clinical intelligence, a system that documents a doctor’s interaction with their patients without the doctor having to be too involved in making notes at the time. This administration assistant is an offshoot of Nuance’s dictation software.

The new deal will see Microsoft gaining access to Nuance’s medical data and contacts, while Nuance will have an opportunity to expand to other locations around the world — it’s a similar situation to the one YuppieChef has found itself in following its recent acquisition by Mr Price here at home. Each company has something it can provide the other.

Source: Ars Technica


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