Nuance to Acquire MobileVoiceControl

BURLINGTON, Mass.—Speech recognition and imaging solutions provider Nuance Communications here will acquire MobileVoiceControl, a Mason, Ohio-based provider of technology to surf the Web and perform other tasks on wireless devices using speech controls. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is expected to close by the end of the month.

Nuance has been beta-testing programs for surfing the Web and composing e-mail on hand-held wireless devices using voice controls since launching its Nuance Mobile Platform last month. Acquiring MobileVoiceControl speeds Nuance's entry into the market, says Peter Mahoney, the company's vice president of worldwide marketing.

 MobileVoiceControl has been offering such a service to customers on the Sprint-Nextel wireless network for about a year. Its service allows users to dictate and send e-mail or text messages, place calls by name or number, create calendar entries, and search Web content simply by pressing a button on their Blackberry, Palm and Windows-enabled mobile devices and speaking their requests into an integrated headset. MobileVoiceControl also has an agreement in place to allow users access to the pages of USA Today through their wireless devices.

MobileVoiceControl "adds capabilities and content to the Nuance Mobile Platform," Mahoney says. "It's a service that is very close to the consumers, and the acquisition gets us there as well much quicker.

"Many phones and mobile devices have Web and data capabilities. The challenge to offering services and data streams like this today is that they are hidden behind so many scroll-through menus and windows. What we are trying to do is unlock the power and potential of mobile devices with one-button simplicity," Mahoney continues.

Once the deal is completed, Nuance hopes to make the MobileVoiceControl services available to its existing mobile partners for private labeling and redistribution.

"Joining Nuance gives MobileVoiceControl the opportunity to leverage the industry's leading speech technology to expand the feature set and capabilities of our mobile speech services," Stephen Burns, president and founder of MobileVoiceControl, said in a statement. "The combination of our two companies offers MobileVoiceControl direct access to Nuance's vast technology portfolio, global resources and carrier relationships, allowing us to further capitalize on the success we've had since our launch earlier this year and accelerate our growth into new areas."

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