EU clears Microsoft takeover of Nuance

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The European Commission’s Competition department has cleared Microsoft’s $19.7 billion deal to acquire Nuance Communications.

In a statement, the commission said it had "approved unconditionally" the takeover, which it believed, "would raise no competition concerns in the European Economic Area (‘EEA')."

The watchdog had previously said it would make a decision by December 21.

Microsoft Nuance

"Based on its market investigation, the Commission found that the transaction, as notified, would not significantly reduce competition in the transcription software, cloud services, enterprise communication services, customer relationship management, productivity software and PC operating systems markets," the statement added.

The watchdog had been concerned that the deal would see Microsoft favor Nuance over other competing services.

It had distributed a questionnaire to Microsoft’s customers and competitors in which it asked them to list different concerns they might be having with the deal, which was first announced in April 2021. 

The organization also wanted to know whether or not the two companies were competitors, or if the deal would affect clients and rivals.

Nuance's flagship product is its Dragon speech recognition software platform, which utilises deep learning models to improve the accuracy of speech transcriptions. 

But the company has a number of other Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings, created mostly for the healthcare industry. One of the most important use cases are doctors and call center agents automating note-taking. The company claims to be serving more than three-quarters (77%) of U.S. hospitals.

Announcing the deal, Microsoft said it wanted to leverage Nuance’s AI knowledge for Interactive Voice Response (IVR), virtual assistants, and digital biometric solutions. Apple’s digital assistant, Siri, was one of the most popular Nuance licensees at the time.

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.