Microsoft buys AI speech tech organization Nuance for $19.7 billion

Microsoft is obtaining AI speech tech business Nuance for $19.7 billion, bolstering the Redmond, Washington-based mostly tech giant’s prowess in voice recognition and providing it further more leverage in the wellbeing treatment marketplace, wherever Nuance sells quite a few merchandise. Microsoft will shell out $56 for each share for Nuance, a 23 p.c quality over the company’s closing price tag last Friday.

Nuance is greatest identified for its Dragon software, which uses deep learning to transcribe speech and increases its accuracy over time by adapting to a user’s voice. Nuance has licensed this tech for several services and apps, like, most famously, Apple’s digital assistant Siri. (While to what diploma Siri now relies on Dragon to respond to users’ queries is unclear.) Dragon is an field chief in phrases of transcription accuracy.

The $19.7 billion acquisition of Nuance is Microsoft’s second-major guiding its obtain of LinkedIn in 2016 for $26 billion. It will come at a time when speech tech is bettering promptly, thanks to the deep mastering increase in AI, and there are simultaneously much more opportunities for its use.

Digital transcription has turn into more trustworthy in a range of configurations, from healthcare consultations to board conferences and college lectures. The uptick in remote get the job done has also produced new possibilities. With so several conferences taking put by way of video clip, it is less complicated to present consumers transcriptions by means of software program built-in immediately into these calls. Zoom, for case in point, features automated transcription by using integration with third-celebration solutions like Otter.

For Microsoft, which can make about two-thirds of its income from business software program revenue and cloud computing, increasing its transcription expert services for situations like these would make comprehensive sense. The company could combine Nuance’s technological know-how into its current software, like Groups, or supply it independently as portion of its Azure cloud small business.

The quick concentrate, though, will be on wellbeing treatment, where by the two firms have now labored collectively. In 2019, they announced a “strategic partnership” to use Nuance’s application to digitize wellbeing records for Microsoft’s shoppers. Nuance’s wellness tech, such as its Dragon Health-related One particular platform, which is tuned to discover medical terminology, is reportedly used by extra than fifty percent a million medical professionals globally and in 77 p.c of US hospitals.

“By augmenting the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare with Nuance’s answers, as nicely as the advantage of Nuance’s expertise and relationships with EHR systems companies, Microsoft will be far better able to empower health care companies via the electric power of ambient clinical intelligence and other Microsoft cloud expert services,” claimed Microsoft in a web site publish.

“Nuance gives the AI layer at the health care place of shipping and delivery and is a pioneer in the real-earth application of organization AI,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a statement. “AI is technology’s most significant priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application. Jointly, with our husband or wife ecosystem, we will put superior AI methods into the arms of industry experts everywhere to generate improved choice-building and build a lot more significant connections, as we accelerate development of Microsoft Cloud in Healthcare and Nuance.”

Information of the Nuance acquisition was very first described about the weekend by Bloomberg, and it is the most up-to-date case in point of Microsoft’s paying for spree. Very last thirty day period, the enterprise completed its $7.5 billion acquisition of video games enterprise ZeniMax. Final calendar year, it was thinking of an acquisition of social video clip application TikTok, and the organization is also reportedly in “distinctive talks” to acquire communications app Discord.