Microsoft wants to acquire voice company Nuance, the company confirms. It pays the equivalent of 16.5 billion euros for the company and it takes over Nuance’s current debt. Microsoft acquires the company to become a bigger e-health player.
Microsoft emphasizes Nuance’s healthcare applications in particular in announcing its acquisition plans. It writes that Nuance is “a pioneer in 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 U.S. radiologists and is used in more than three-quarters of U.S. hospitals.
Microsoft and Nuance have been working closely together in the health field since 2019 on ambient clinical intelligence software called Dragon Ambient eXperience. This is software that uses speech recognition and artificial intelligence in doctor-patient conversations and serves as a digital assistant for doctors. During these types of conversations, 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 pressing application of AI right now.”
In addition to healthcare, Nuance is also working on other AI business solutions 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 is acquiring Nuance Communications for $56 a share. That is 23 percent more than the stock price that was asked for a share in the company on Friday. The market value of the company was estimated at around $12 billion. It is Microsoft’s second largest acquisition to date. LinkedIn alone paid more: $26 billion.
Nuance Communications is a software company specializing in voice control. The company employs 6,500 people. 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.