Microsoft in talks to acquire Siri speech recognition partner Nuance for $16B

Posted:
in General Discussion
Nuance Communications is allegedly in discussions with Microsoft over a potential acquisition of the voice recognition company, one that could value a technology provider behind voice analysis for Apple's Siri at approximately $16 billion.




Discussions between the two companies are ongoing, but could result in an announcement for a deal in the next week, according to people familiar with the talks. The proposed price for Nuance is said to be roughly $56 per share, a 23% premium on Friday's closing price.

The talks, told to Bloomberg by unnamed sources, could have major implications for Apple, due to Nuance's involvement with Siri. Apple used Nuance's voice recognition engine to enable its digital assistant to hear and understand user requests.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on the report, while a spokesperson for Nuance didn't immediately respond to queries.

An acquisition of Nuance would be Microsoft's second-largest purchase. Its largest is the acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016, a deal valued at $24 billion.

If a purchase is confirmed, it is unclear how this would affect Apple and Siri in the immediate future. While Nuance confirmed in 2013 its technology was "the fundamental provider of voice recognition for Apple," it is unknown how the relationship between the two companies over Siri operates in 2021.

An acquisition may even press Apple into investing more into voice recognition research, which could allow Siri to work without any dependence on third-party service providers.

This is not the first time the Burlington-based Nuance considered a sale. In 2014, reports claimed it was in talks with Samsung for a potential acquisition, though the South Korean giant didn't follow through.

In 2013, investors and industry watchers proposed Apple's reliance on Nuance could have been a good reason for it to acquire the company itself. At the time, it was thought Apple had a chance to do so for $7 billion, less than half the current anticipated purchase price.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    ppietrappietra Posts: 251member
    I thought Apple had already stoped using Nuance tech.
    watto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 2 of 15
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,165member
    Ditto, seems like Apple’s reliance on Nuance is long gone. I recall at least one keynote where apple discussed how they used machine learning to enhance their voice recognition tech. 
    The curiosity is what microsoft would want with them, it’s not like microsoft don’t have this tech in house. 
    forgot usernamewatto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 3 of 15
    Isn’t this the 10th anniversary of the deployment of Siri on the iPhone coming up later this year? Hopefully Siri will get a birthday present in the form of massive updates. That will be a present for Siri and for us. Voice recognition is only a part of the updates that would benefit Siri add all of us. And the timing would be perfect, considering all those companies that Apple has purchased for AI.

    hey, a person can dream…
    gregoriusmforgot usernameelijahgwatto_cobraBeatsbyronljony0
  • Reply 4 of 15
    Didn't MS just retire Cortana?

    Something ain't right.
    forgot usernamewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 665member
    Didn't MS just retire Cortana?

    Something ain't right.
    Cortana is just a nuance to MS voice recognitions..ok i get it..
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 15
    Ditto, seems like Apple’s reliance on Nuance is long gone. I recall at least one keynote where apple discussed how they used machine learning to enhance their voice recognition tech. 
    The curiosity is what microsoft would want with them, it’s not like microsoft don’t have this tech in house. 
    Licen$ing. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,343member
    World hates Siri. Microsoft buys it.
    seanj
  • Reply 8 of 15
    Nokia any?
    watto_cobraseanjBeats
  • Reply 9 of 15
    mobirdmobird Posts: 569member
    Apple should ask for their money back... ;)
  • Reply 10 of 15
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,321member
    World hates Siri. Microsoft buys it.
    Tech nerds hate Siri not the world. Also Microsoft is not buying Siri.
    OnPartyBusinessjony0
  • Reply 11 of 15
    mr lizardmr lizard Posts: 244member
    I had no idea Nuance was part of the original foundation for Siri. That might explain some of the problems. My organisation uses Nuance products to automate customer telephone enquiries and it’s terrible. It doesn’t understand regional accents and is one of the leading causes of customer complaints. 
    jony0
  • Reply 12 of 15
    byronlbyronl Posts: 71member
    i thought siri had her own voice recognition tech
  • Reply 13 of 15
    byronlbyronl Posts: 71member
    Isn’t this the 10th anniversary of the deployment of Siri on the iPhone coming up later this year? Hopefully Siri will get a birthday present in the form of massive updates. That will be a present for Siri and for us. Voice recognition is only a part of the updates that would benefit Siri add all of us. And the timing would be perfect, considering all those companies that Apple has purchased for AI.

    hey, a person can dream…
    i think there was a verge article or something that said leaked apple documents pointed into siri getting big updates
  • Reply 14 of 15
    dk49dk49 Posts: 94member
    I thought Cortona was smarter than Siri, so I don't understand why MS is making this super expensive purchase? 
  • Reply 15 of 15
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 743member
    dk49 said:
    I thought Cortona was smarter than Siri, so I don't understand why MS is making this super expensive purchase? 
    Patents perhaps?

    Also, you need to think about all the voice assistance as being made up of multiple products/systems.

    There's the speech recognition part (Nuance) and then the back end systems that interpreting the request, find the answer, take the action, etc.
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