Microsoft has acquired Artificial Intelligence (AI) speech tech firm Nuance Communications in one of its biggest acquisitions till date.
Nuance is best known for its Dragon family of speech recognition software, which employs deep learning models to improve its speech transcription accuracy over time.
Microsoft has been investing in industry-specific cloud platforms and Nuance’s acquisition is part of its moves into the rapidly growing digital healthcare industry, especially in light of the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.
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“AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application. Together, with our partner ecosystem, we will put advanced AI solutions into the hands of professionals everywhere to drive better decision-making and create more meaningful connections, as we accelerate growth of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and Nuance,” said Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella.
Microsoft calls Nuance as one of the industry leaders when it comes to conversational AI and cloud-based ambient clinical intelligence for healthcare providers.
The company has a slew of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings especially designed for healthcare use cases. Interestingly the SaaS products all rely on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing service.
In a statement Microsoft said it also hoped to leverage Nuance’s AI expertise that extends beyond healthcare into Interactive Voice Response (IVR), virtual assistants, and digital and biometric solutions.
In fact, one of the most popular Nuance licensees is Apple’s Siri digital assistant.
Microsoft hopes to leverage Nuance’s expertise together with its own cloud-based products including Azure, Teams, and Dynamics 365, to create a wider range of customer engagement and security solutions.
The all-cash transaction is valued at $19.7 billion, and is only second behind Microsoft’s $26 billion LinkedIn acquisition.
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Via: The Verge