Microsoft Finalizes Its Nuance Purchase, Bringing AI and Speech Perks to Industry Cloud Services

Microsoft on Friday announced the completion of its acquisition of Nuance Communications Inc., a former partner.

Microsoft is planning to include Nuance's artificial intelligence (AI) and speech recognition technologies into its Microsoft Cloud services. It'll support "vertical cloud" customers in the healthcare, financial services and retail industries. Telecommunications and call center support also are part of Microsoft's Nuance integration plans.

The deal, estimated as a $19.7 billion all-cash purchase by Microsoft, was originally announced last year in April. It has now cleared approval processes.

AI Perks for Microsoft Cloud Services
Microsoft had estimated back in April that the Nuance acquisition would double its total addressable market in the healthcare space to "nearly $500 billion" because of Nuance's efforts in supporting "ambient clinical intelligence."

Nuance makes the Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX) product that records doctor-patient meetings, creating clinical documentation that integrates with electronic health records.

Nuance is probably best known for its Natural Dragon speech transcription consumer product, but it has also carved out a niche in the electronic healthcare space, particularly in the medical imaging specialty. The DAX product was described as "combating clinician and radiologist burnout" by automating documentation, and even "bridging the silos of medical information," per another Microsoft announcement.

Nuance products are used by:

  • "77% of U.S. hospitals"
  • "550,000 healthcare clinicians worldwide"
  • "19 out of 20 of the world's top financial institutions," and
  • "85% of the Fortune 100."

Nuance also produces products for the call center and customer care industries, featuring AI and electronic records solutions. Microsoft described the Nuance acquisition as enhancing its Dynamics 365 Customer Service product for use by contact centers. The AI technologies will be used to verify calling party identities, with the aim of reducing fraud and automating cases.

"Nearly every customer engagement will leverage automation, using industry-specific AI to enable intelligent engagement and personalized customer experiences," Microsoft claimed, in a separate announcement regarding its contact center Nuance integration plans.

Work with the existing partner community will continue with the Microsoft acquisition of Nuance. Microsoft also promised "continuity of service" for existing "customer touchpoints." Nuance employees are getting onboarded and aligned.

Mark Benjamin, Nuance's CEO, will keep that same position under Microsoft and will report to Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Microsoft Cloud + AI group.

LinkedIn Buys Oribi
Late last month, Microsoft's LinkedIn company announced that it was buying Israel-based marketing analytics company Oribi for an undisclosed amount.

The addition of Oribi will help LinkedIn customers estimate the return-on-investment effects of their advertising campaigns, according to the announcement. Media accounts, such as this one, suggested that LinkedIn paid "between $80 million and $90 million for Oribi."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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