Microsoft Acquires Nuance in $19.7 Billion Deal

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Microsoft today announced a deal to acquire speech technology provider Nuance Communications—long considered an acquisition target for several large tech companies, including Microsoft and Apple—for $19.7 billion.

The acquisition is Microsoft's largest since buying LinkedIn for more than $26 billion in 2016. It also spent $7.6 billion for Zenimax, a gaming software company, earlier this year, and was reportedly interested in buying TikTok last year, but that deal never happened.

Microsoft reportedly plans to use Nuance's technology to augment its cloud products for health care, which were launched last year.

"Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery and is a pioneer in the real-world application of enterprise AI," Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said in a statement. "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."

"Together, Nuance and Microsoft will accelerate innovation and continue to advance the next generation of conversational AI solutions as we mutually gain even greater focus, highly specialized resources, and global scale to better serve our customers, Nuance CEO Mark Benjamin wrote in a blog post earlier today. "Together, we will use our combined breadth and depth of knowledge, shared purpose, collective talents, and tight alignment of resources and structure to drive profound and positive difference in the lives of others.

"Together, Nuance and Microsoft will be well positioned to seize the significant opportunity to help transform healthcare delivery to create a more sustainable future, applying the latest advances in AI and cloud technologies to enable more personal, affordable, effective, and accessible care," Benjamin continued. "Combining the full power of Microsoft's global scale and infrastructure with our highly complementary, deeply verticalized conversational AI applications will greatly advance Microsoft's Intelligent Cloud strategy across the financial services, telecommunications, travel, retail, and government industries. Additionally, we will be able to further accelerate our cloud-based solutions, both domestically and internationally, and complement Microsoft's existing intelligent engagement portfolio with our IVR, virtual assistants, digital messaging, and biometric solutions."

Microsoft already has voice recognition built into many of its products, including its Cortana virtual assistant.

Microsoft's acquisition of Nuance builds on a partnership between the two companies that began in 2019.

"Our growing partnership has made it very clear to both Nuance and Microsoft that we truly share the same passion, vision, and values for creating technology that positively changes how people work," Benjamin said.

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