Microsoft announced Monday, April 12, 2021, that it had agreed to buy a speech and artificial intelligence company Nuance Communications Inc. for $56 per share or approximately $20 billion including debt. The deal follows Microsoft’s partnership with Nuance back in 2019.
The deal will be done in all-cash, making it the second-largest deal for Microsoft, next only to the tech giant’s acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016 for a price of $26.2 billion, notes The Guardian.
Founded in Massachusetts in 1992, Nuance is considered a speech recognition powerhouse that provides speech technology. It is known for helping launch Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant. As of writing, The Guardian states that the firm currently operates in 28 countries around the globe and employs 1,600 people.
BBC News revealed that the speech artificial intelligence firm recently geared its efforts and technology towards the healthcare industry. This includes programs that allowed for the automation and streamlining of radiology reports, giving doctors an easier time to make patient notes.
In total, The Guardian reports that Nuance has successfully helped around 77 percent of hospitals in the United States alone with its speech AI technology. It is also utilized by over 55 percent of doctors and 75 percent of radiologists in the country, revealed ABC News.
According to Bloomberg, the two have been collaborating on a suite of technologies since 2019. For two years, the tech provided by Nuance Communications Inc. allowed healthcare professionals to capture and take note of voice conversations from patient visits, making note-taking and electronic preservation of medical records much more seamless.
Apart from the aforementioned services, Nuance Communication Inc. brings an extensive range of clinical speech recognition software technologies to the table, allowing it to tap into a wider market. These include Dragon Ambient eXperience, Dragon Medical One, and PowerScribe, notes ABC News. All three of this software are now integrated on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.
In a blog post dated Monday, the chief executive officer of Microsoft Satya Nadella said, “Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery and is a pioneer in the real-world application of enterprise AI.”
“AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application. Together, with our partner ecosystem, we will put advanced AI solutions into the hands of professionals everywhere to drive better decision-making and create more meaningful connections, as well accelerate growth of Microsoft Cloud in Healthcare and Nuance,” continued Nadella.