Microsoft to buy AI speech firm Nuance for $16 billion?

Posted on Monday, Apr 12 2021 @ 11:21 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
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Microsoft is on a roll with multi-billion dollar investments. Over the past decade, the software giant has used its massive cash reserves to acquire a bunch of companies. In recent years, some of the largest examples were video game publisher ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion, GitHub for $7.5 billion, and LinkedIn for a massive $26.2 billion. The latter was Microsoft's largest-ever buyout.

$16 billion for speech firm Nuance?

Speech technology used to be very hot during the dot com boom of the late 1990s. Now word is going around about a possible $16 billion acquisition of Nuance Communications. The interesting back story here is that Nuance is the company that bought the speech technology division of Lernout & Hauspie, one of the big speech recognition firms of the 1990s. Lernout & Hauspie was a Belgium-based company, it went bankrupt in 2001 after a major financial scandal.

According to Bloomberg, a deal could be announced as early as this week. If it goes through, it will be Microsoft's second-largest acquisition ever.
Microsoft and Nuance have collaborated since 2019 on technologies to do things like allow doctors to capture voice conversations from patient visits and enter the data into electronic medical records.

“This can really help Microsoft accelerate the digitization of the health-care industry, which has lagged other sectors such as retail and banking,” said Anurag Rana, a Bloomberg Intelligence senior analyst. “The biggest near-term benefit that I can see is in the area of telehealth, where Nuance transcription product is currently being used with Microsoft Teams.”
Nuance primarily focuses on the business market but its technology is also used by Apple's Siri assistant.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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