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Investors speculate Carl Icahn could push Apple to buy Nuance for speech tech - Page 2

post #41 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

How the **** could an investor "push" Apple to do anything, especially such a massively expensive and strategic move? If Apple thinks that buying Nuance will best serve its interests, then it will do so. If it doesn't, I don't see how someone like Icahn, who knows nothing about whats best for Apple's strategic interests or its consumers, can convince Apple to do so. 

As a stock holder you effectively own part of the company. Our influence is in proportion to the percentage of stock you own. Once past ten percent ownership you have a tremendous amount of persuasion. Ally with another large stock holder and you can get Apple to dance the Macarena.
post #42 of 48
Apple tried to buy Nuance in the past, but Nuance wanted too high of a price. Apple has been hiring in Boston, likely building their own speech group. If they put enough effort behind it, they can produce superior recognition technology and won't be dependent on Nuance going forward.

That would cost a lot less than $7B. Maybe $1B if they want to go all out.
post #43 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by politicalslug View Post

Apple won't do this. It's a bad buy for Apple. The high price tag of Nuance can't be justified. Apple's licensing costs for Siri are far less than purchasing the company outright. As for Icahn, he may be able to push around the boards of smaller and weaker companies, but he won't have much clout at Apple given it's management team continues to prove its abilities at the helm.

You have a good point. What I wonder is if Apple would be interested in absorbing Nuance in order to control its licencing. Remember that Nuance is a provider to more tech companies than just Apple. Could/would Apple want to grab a hold of it with the intent of having this type of control?
post #44 of 48
I have mixed feelings about Nuance and especially about its business model. I bought the quite expensive DD for Mac a few years ago and it has always behind the curve with slow updates but recent versions were semi-OK, although still not multi-processor aware AFAIK. Then in the last 12 months all updates have stopped but I am being bombarded with special offers on an almost daily basis to buy DD for massively reduced rates. The reason? Well I think it is because Mavericks has excellent built-in offline speech recognition/dictation functions that will devastate Nuance's DD sales base. But instead of trying to update and improve DD to stay a step ahead of Mavericks, Nuance seems like it milking the cash cow for all it is worth in the last few days of life. That in my book is questionable business morals and makes it a risky buy for Apple.
post #45 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

I don't think Apple will buy Nuance at 5 to $7 Billion for many reasons in addition to the price.

Nuance has excellent voice recognition but their other products can be undermined.  I think Carl Icahn realizes this.


When Visioneer + ScanSoft bought Dragon Systems/Nuance, they got excellent voice recognition that gives them an advantage and pushed their original ScanSoft imaging scanning product to the background.  Nuance has since licensed the voice recognition to many other companies including Apple.  They have also purchased other companies such as Dictaphone and BeVocal to build up their products arsenal.

The companies licensing the voice recognition from Nuance can undermine Nuance's other products.  Apple will soon undermine their car voice recognition products products  to some extent with iOS in the car. Apple's SIRI speech/voice system in iOS 7 demonstrated at WWDC will beat Nuance and the other licenses. Note that speech and voice recognition go together and Apple certainly wants to differentiate itself from the other Nuance licenses.

If Apple can enhance the Nuance voice recognition technology or better yet come up with it's own voice recognition to match or beat Nuance, Nuance would quickly be in big trouble.  

Considering the market cap of Nuance and licensees that it has, and Apple's goal to differentiates itself, it makes more sense for Apple to keep licensing from Nuance until Apple can come up with it's own voice recognition system that is at least as good as Nuance's system.

Good post.

I'd like to add to the conversation......

Why pay so much for Nuance. Some of their earlier speech patents that are the building blocks of speach recognition technology, but will expire in the next five years?

You can see that Nuance knows this, look at their number of acquisitions from 2006 to 2013. It looks like they bought every patent troll that might have tried to sue them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuance_Communications

This may be the future of the mobile patent wars?
post #46 of 48
This article rumor has not merit for several reasons.

1. Apple doesn't spend this much money on acquisitions.
2. Carl Icahn's "large position" in Apple stock is less than 1%. Any discussion Tim Cook has with him is out of professional courtesy, not due to leverage of any sort.
3. Apple is clearly working on their own speech technology effort in Nuance's back yard. http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2013/07/26/apples-boston-area-team-working-on-speech-in-nuances-backyard/
post #47 of 48

I don't know if anyone is still watching this thread but I would like to mention there is an API from AT&T that lets third party iOS developers tap into their voice recognition system called Watson. All kinds of possibilities. I've been playing around with it all day and it works pretty well so far. A nice resource since Apple does not let you tap into Siri functionality. 

 

Learn more here:

https://developer.att.com/developer/flow/apiPlaygroundFlow.do?execution=e1s1

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #48 of 48
Two more reasons this will not happen:

1. Antitrust - this purchase would never be approved by the DOJ. Nuance dominates the speech recognition market and a large player like Apple buying it merely to shut out competition is a perfect example of when the DOJ should act to ensure competition (and this is coming from an Apple shareholder).

2. Apple understands that voice recognition is a commodity. It's worthless without AI (artificial intelligence) like SIRI. Many companies license Nuance's tech but few have taken that to the next step to use that data in an intelligent way. AFAIK only Google and Apple are pausing deep into this territory right now, and the speech recognition aspect is only a tiny part of that puzzle. More importantly, Apple owns SIRI's AI algorithms and the speech recognition engine it uses is modular and could easily be replaced. There is a tweak in Cydia for jailbroken iOS devices that allow you to use Google's voice recognition service to interpret your voice and send that data to SIRI and recieve data back from SIRI. If that doesn't show how trivial Nuance's role in SIRI is then I don't know what would.
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