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Microsoft in talks to buy AI firm Nuance communications that laid groundwork for Apple's Siri

Reports have cited sources who said that Nuance's acquisition could have major implications for Apple. The deal could take place as soon as this week and will be Microsoft's second-biggest acquisition after LinkedIn.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | April 12, 2021 | Updated 14:36 IST
(Picture: Reuters)

Highlights

  • Microsoft may soon acquire AI firm and speech technology company Nuance for $16 billion.
  • Apple used Nuance's voice recognition engine to enable its digital assistant Siri to hear and understand user requests.
  • Last month, Microsoft was also reported to be in discussions with Discord to acquire the chat software for over $10 billion.

Microsoft may soon acquire AI firm and speech technology company Nuance for $16 billion. The deal could take place as soon as this week, according to reports, and will be Microsoft's second-biggest acquisition after LinkedIn, which it had acquired for $24 billion. The technology provider is also behind voice analysis for Apple's Siri.

Bloomberg cited sources who noted that Nuance's acquisition could have major implications for Apple as it laid the groundwork for Siri's technology. Apple used Nuance's voice recognition engine to enable its digital assistant Siri to hear and understand user requests. The price being discussed could value Nuance at about $56 a share, though the terms could still change, according to the publication.

It further noted that Nuance's shares have climbed 3.4 per cent this year, giving the company an almost $13 billion market value but still trailing the 9.9 per cent jump in the S&P 500 Index. Microsoft has climbed 15 per cent.

The news comes shortly after Microsoft discontinued voice assistant Cortana for iOS and Android users. Microsoft had noted that it would be shifting toward a transformational AI-powered assistant experience in its Microsoft 365 apps, which would involve refocusing its areas of innovation and development. Since then Microsoft has integrated Cortana as part of Microsoft 365 software.

Last month, Microsoft was also reported to be in discussions with Discord to acquire the chat software for over $10 billion. Discord has reportedly reached out to potential buyers and has also held discussions with Amazon and Epic Games in the past. However, some sources have told Bloomberg that Discord is likely to go public if it does not get an acceptable offer.

According to a report by Venture Beat, Discord is exploring a sale and is in final talks with a party. However, the same report cited sources who said that it is hard to tell the difference between "a serious acquisition attempt and a fishing expedition." "It can fall apart at any time. The reality is the company is doing really well. I don't see a reason they would want to sell. They seem to be completely in control of their destiny right now, " the source said.


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