It’s second largest acquisition since the purchase of LinkedIn.
Microsoft is purchasing Nuance, a voice-based artificial intelligence company, for $19.7 billion to enhance the speech recognition capabilities of the technology and expand its capabilities in the healthcare market where Nuance sells various products. Microsoft will acquire Nuance at a price of $56 per share, which is 23% higher than the company’s closing price on Friday. The transaction includes Nuance’s net debt.
Nuance’s Dragon software is best known, for using deep learning to transcribe speech and improves its accuracy by adapting to the user’s speech. Nuance has licensed this technology for many services and applications, including Apple’s most popular digital assistant, Siri. Dragon is the industry leader in transcription accuracy. The $19.7 billion acquisition of Nuance is Microsoft’s second largest purchase after the US$26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016.While language technology is developing rapidly, due to the development of deep learning technology in artificial intelligence there are more opportunities to use them.
From doctor’s office to board meeting to university meeting, digital transcription has become more reliable in all situations. The development of telecommuting has also created new opportunities. With so many meetings conducted via video, it has become easier to provide customers with transcripts with software built into these conversations. For example, Zoom provides automatic transcription by integrating with third-party services (such as Otter). For Microsoft, it has achieved about two-thirds of its sales through company software and cloud computing. In this case, it makes sense to improve transcription services. The company can integrate Nuance technology with its existing software (such as Teams) or provide it independently as part of the Azure cloud business.
However, the focus will soon be on the healthcare where the two companies have already collaborated on. In 2019, they announced the establishment of a “strategic partnership” to use Nuance software to digitize medical records for Microsoft customers. According to reports, more than half a million doctors and 77% of US hospitals worldwide use Nuance medical technology, including the Dragon Medical One platform, which is tailored specifically to define medical terms.
Microsoft stated: “By adding Nuance solutions to Microsoft’s healthcare cloud, and leveraging Nuance’s expertise and relationships with EHR system providers, Microsoft can provide healthcare providers with ambient clinical analysis and other better Microsoft Cloud Services,” in a blog post.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said: “Nuance brings AI into the healthcare field and is a pioneer in the practical application of enterprise-level AI.” “Artificial intelligence is the top priority of technology, and healthcare is its most important application. We will work with our partner ecosystem to deliver advanced AI solutions to professionals around the world to make better decisions and more meaningful connections as Microsoft Cloud in Healthcare and Nuance accelerate growth.
Bloomberg first announced the acquisition of Nuance over the weekend. This is the latest example of Microsoft buying activity. Last month, the company completed the acquisition of ZeniMax, a gaming company, for $7.5 billion. The company considered acquiring the TikTok social video application last year, and it is reported that the company is still in “exclusive negotiations” to purchase the Discord communication application.