Microsoft wants to acquire voice company Nuance, the company confirms. It pays 16.5 billion euros for the company and takes over Nuance’s current debt. Microsoft is acquiring the company to become a larger e-health player.
In announcing its acquisition plans, Microsoft is particularly emphasizing Nuance’s healthcare applications. It writes that Nuance is “pioneering conversational AI and cloud-based ambient clinical intelligence for healthcare providers.” For example, the company’s software is used by radiologists to limit the administrative burden. Microsoft reports that Nuance software is used by 55 percent of physicians and 75 percent of US radiologists and is used in more than three-quarters of US hospitals.
Microsoft and Nuance have been collaborating intensively in the field of health on ambient clinical intelligence software called Dragon Ambient eXperience since 2019 . This is software that uses speech recognition and artificial intelligence in doctor-patient conversations and serves as a digital assistant for doctors. During this type of conversation, it can automatically create relevant care notes and doctors can request information from patient files and, for example, create tasks for colleagues.
With the acquisition of Nuance, Microsoft expects to become an even bigger player in healthcare. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says, “Healthcare is the most urgent AI application at the moment.”
In addition to healthcare, Nuance is also working on other business solutions for AI such as their Interactive Voice Response, virtual assistants and biometrics. Microsoft expects to be able to apply that knowledge to the future of Azure, Teams, Dynamics 365 and cloud services.
Microsoft reports that it is acquiring Nuance Communications for $ 56 a share. That is 23 percent more than the stock market price that was asked for a share in the company on Friday. The company’s market value was estimated at around $ 12 billion. It is Microsoft’s second largest acquisition to date. It paid more for LinkedIn alone: $ 26 billion.
Nuance Communications is a software company specializing in voice control. The company employs 6,500 employees. The company is best known for the speech recognition in Apple’s digital assistant Siri, but it mainly focuses on business applications of speech, cloud software and AI.