• July 9, 2007
  • By Leonard Klie Editor, Speech Technology and CRM magazines
  • FYI

Nuance Communications Expands Its Mobile Presence

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Slightly more than a month after announcing its acquisition of VoiceSignal Technologies, Nuance Communications announced June 21 that it will acquire Tegic Communications, an AOL subsidiary that develops embedded software for mobile devices, for $265 million. Both deals greatly expand Nuance’s presence in the speech-enabled mobile solutions arena.

Seattle-based Tegic brings its T9 predictive text input software, which has shipped on more than 2.5 billion mobile devices, and next-generation integrated text and touch input solutions to Nuance’s portfolio of voice-enabled applications for device control, mobile search, email, and text messaging. Tegic’s solutions support more than 60 languages and 15 character scripts.

Combining Tegic’s T9 predictive text and multimodal input solutions with Nuance’s advanced speech technologies for mobile devices, the acquisition sets the stage for a new mobile user interface that combines voice, text, and touch.

“The enhanced capabilities of mobile devices and networks have fueled significant innovation in features and services, but their potential has been tempered by the traditional interface on most mobile devices,” Paul Ricci, chairman and CEO of Nuance, said in a statement.

By joining with Tegic, Nuance is “poised to redefine the way people interact with their mobile devices, delivering a more convenient, simple way for consumers to control features and access information on their phones, and search and navigate the mobile Web,” Ricci explained.

The Tegic acquisition follows a similar announcement by Nuance May 15 that it will acquire VoiceSignal, its largest competitor in the speech-enabled mobile market, for $239 million. VoiceSignal, which is based in Woburn, Mass., is a leading developer of speech recognition software for wireless devices, as well as the VSearch mobile voice search service. Since 2002, VoiceSignal’s software has been shipped on more than 150 million mobile devices from the world’s leading handset manufacturers.

With these two acquisitions, Nuance expects to serve more than 1 billion consumers in the next three years with voice-based mobile solutions for mobile phones, for personal navigational devices, and in cars. Those services include mobile search, messaging, and voice-enabled dialing.

The combined companies will include among their mobile service customers AOL, AT&T, Daimler-Chrysler, Ford, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Palm, Nokia, Rogers Wireless, Samsung, Sanyo, Sony Ericsson, Sprint, RIM, T-Mobile, Toyota, and Vodafone.

“Today, more than 2 billion people worldwide rely on mobile phones to stay connected, informed, and productive. We see an expanding opportunity in helping consumers to use the powerful capabilities of their phones and to access the array of content and services available on the mobile Web,” Ricci has said.

Earlier this year, Nuance also acquired BeVocal, a provider of customer self-service applications over mobile devices, and Focus Infomatics, a provider of speech-based transcription services for the healthcare industry.

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