Microsoft’s Nuance Acquisition Is All About Developing Smart Voice Assistants-news

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(Credit: Microsoft/Nuance)

Microsoft is spending $19 billion to buy Nuance, a Massachusetts-based company that supplies virtual assistant and speech-recognition technologies to hospitals, banks, and retail businesses. 

By buying Nuance, Microsoft is aiming to expand its presence in the enterprise software market, including in the lucrative healthcare sector. “AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella tweeted on Monday. 

The acquisition also means Microsoft’s cloud computing business, Azure, will support Nuance’s technologies on the backend. For example, one of Nuance’s biggest products is Dragon Medical, speech-recognition software that can transcribe everything a doctor says during a clinical visit. The same product can also save the notes in the cloud on Microsoft Azure, as part of a partnership the two companies struck in 2019.

“Nuance solutions are currently used by more than 55% of physicians and 75% of radiologists in the US, and used in 77% of US hospitals,” Nuance says. 

Another major Nuance product is the company’s virtual assistant software, which businesses have been using for customer support. Nuance markets the software as smart enough to understand and predict the customer’s intent during a phone call. In addition, the company has been offering a password-less security system that relies on your voice to authenticate sign-ins. 

Nuance CEO Mark Benjamin says his company’s goal is to build the most advanced conversational AI solution. “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,” he wrote in a post on LinkedIn. 

The deal is scheduled to close by the end of 2021. Benjamin will remain as Nuance CEO.


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