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Microsoft acquires Nuance to usher in 'new era of outcomes-based AI'

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Microsoft has completed its acquisition of Siri backend creator Nuance in a bumper deal that it says will usher in a "new era of outcomes-based AI". "Completion of this significant and strategic acquisition brings together Nuance's best-in-class conversational AI and ambient intelligence with Microsoft's secure and trusted industry cloud offerings," said Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of the Cloud AI Group at Microsoft. "This powerful combination will help providers offer more affordable, effective, and accessible healthcare, and help organisations in every industry create more personalised and meaningful customer experiences. I couldn't be more pleased to welcome the Nuance team to our Microsoft family." Nuance became a household name (in techie households, anyway) for creating the speech recognition engine that powers Apple's smart assistant, Siri.


EU clears $19.7B Microsoft-Nuance deal without any small print

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The EU has concluded Microsoft's $19.7 billion acquisition of Nuance doesn't pose competition concerns. Nuance gained renown for originally creating the backend of that little old virtual assistant called Siri (you might have heard of it?) The company has since continued to focus on building its speech recognition capabilities and has a number of solutions which span particular industries such as healthcare to general omni-channel customer experience services. Earlier this year, Microsoft decided Nuance is worth coughing up $19.7 billion for. As such large deals often do, the proposed acquisition caught the eyes of several global regulators.


Global Big Data Conference

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Microsoft has completed its acquisition of Siri backend creator Nuance in a bumper deal that it says will usher in a "new era of outcomes-based AI". "Completion of this significant and strategic acquisition brings together Nuance's best-in-class conversational AI and ambient intelligence with Microsoft's secure and trusted industry cloud offerings," said Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of the Cloud AI Group at Microsoft. "This powerful combination will help providers offer more affordable, effective, and accessible healthcare, and help organisations in every industry create more personalised and meaningful customer experiences. I couldn't be more pleased to welcome the Nuance team to our Microsoft family." Nuance became a household name (in techie households, anyway) for creating the speech recognition engine that powers Apple's smart assistant, Siri. However, Nuance has been in the speech recognition business since 2001 when it was known as ScanSoft.


Why did Microsoft spend $19.7 billion to purchase Nuance? The answer may lie beyond health care.

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Microsoft's decision to spend $19.7 billion to purchase Nuance Communications took a number of industry analysts by surprise. In justifying the amount, Satya Nadella touted Nuance as a "pioneer" in the field of conversational AI for health care and highlighted the impact its tech would have on establishing Microsoft as a leading vendor in the sector. But the rationale seems to lie beyond trying to own just one industry. Instead, Nuance could fill a critical void that would help Microsoft compete more fiercely against rivals like AWS. To be sure, the health care component is a big deal and gives Microsoft access to a critical sales channel at a time when competing vendors are also pivoting quickly to industry-specific products.


Nuance partners with The Academy to launch The AI Collaborative

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Nuance has partnered with The Health Management Academy (The Academy) to launch The AI Collaborative, an industry group focused on advancing healthcare using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Nuance became a household name for creating the speech engine recognition engine behind Siri. In recent years, the company has put a strong focus on AI solutions for healthcare and is now a full-service partner of 77 percent of US hospitals and is trusted by over 500,000 physicians daily. Earlier this year, Microsoft acquired Nuance with the promise of ushering in a "new era of outcomes-based AI". Microsoft is also active in the healthcare space and its acquisition of Nuance was investigated by regulators over concerns it may reduce competition.