Microsoft today agreed to acquire Nuance Communications, a leader in text-to-speech software, for $ 19.7 billion. The company is best known for its text-to-speech products. Bloomberg said over the weekend that the two companies were in talks.
Nuance CEO Mark Benjamin will remain with the company and report to Scott Guthrie. The company believes this will give them a head start in the growing healthcare market, where Nuance has a strong presence.
Nuance has a complex history. It went public in 2000 and started purchasing speech recognition products, most notably Dragon Dictate (by Lernout Hauspie) in 2001. It merged with a company called ScanSoft in 2005. This company started life as Visioneer , a digitization company in 1992.
Today, the company offers a number of products, including Dragon Dictate, a consumer and professional text-to-speech product that dates back to the early 1990s. It is also involved in speech recognition, chat bots, and processing. natural language, especially in healthcare and other verticals.
The company has 6,000 employees in 27 countries. In its latest earnings report for November 2020, which covered the fourth quarter of 2020, the company reported revenue of $ 352.9 million, compared to $ 387.6 million in the same. period a year earlier. This isn’t the direction a business wants to go, but it’s still a completion rate of over $ 1.4 billion.
At the time of this call for results, the company also announced that it was selling its Go-Live medical transcription and electronic health record (EHR) services to Assured Healthcare Partners and Aeries Technology Group. Company CEO Benjamin said it was to help the company focus on its core voice services.
“With this sale, we will take an important step in our journey towards a more focused strategy to advance our conversational AI, natural language understanding and ambient clinical intelligence solutions,” Benjamin said in a statement to the ‘time.
It should be noted that Microsoft already has a number of voice recognition and chat bot products, including desktop voicemail services in Windows and on Azure, but it took the opportunity to buy a market leader and to go further in the health sector.
It would be Microsoft’s second-largest purchase ever, barely surpassed by the $ 26.2 billion the company paid for LinkedIn in 2016.
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