Microsoft acquires the voice technology research and development company behind Siri

On April 12, Microsoft announced that it would acquire speech recognition giant Nuance Communications at a price of $56 per share, with a transaction value of $19.7 billion.

The acquisition of Nuance is the second most expensive acquisition in Microsoft’s history, second only to LinkedIn, which was acquired for $26.2 billion in 2016.

Nuance is a speech recognition company, and interestingly, it is also the technology supplier behind Apple’s Siri speech analysis. Is Microsoft ready to go deep into the field of voice intelligence?

(Source: Unsplash)

In fact, since 2019, Microsoft and Nuance have cooperated in technology, mainly for the medical industry. For example, doctors can capture voice conversations and enter data into electronic medical records during patient visits.

The first thing that Nuance’s participation is expected to accelerate is Microsoft’s digitalization process in the field of health care. Because Microsoft has been making efforts to cut into the field of health care, hope that hospitals use its various cloud software. It reflects Microsoft’s ambitions in the field of health care, and to some extent, it also reflects the idea that Microsoft is paving the way for radiation to other industries.

In fact, Microsoft has always attached great importance to the field of artificial intelligence, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates also began to pay attention to the issue of human-computer dialogue very early. In recent years, Microsoft has invested thousands of employees in artificial intelligence work and has also commercialized products in this field, such as translating speech, recognizing images, and detecting abnormal programs. And regard artificial intelligence as the key driver of future cloud service sales.

Although it is still impossible to further determine whether the cooperation between Microsoft and Nuance will affect Apple, it is certain that with the addition of Nuance, Microsoft will take a big step forward in the development of voice intelligence.

If you are not very clear about the strength of Nuance, tell you “Siri was developed by Nuance with the assistance of Apple”, and you may be able to have a specific concept of its strength.

Some netizens even said, “Nuance is the US University of Science and Technology, and it is a company with a strong voice recognition technology.”

However, competitors such as Google and Amazon are also increasing investment in this area. The competition facing Microsoft is undoubtedly fierce.

Since the news that Microsoft shut down Cortana, the outside world has been speculating about the development of Microsoft’s voice intelligence. Cortana, as a heavy weapon in the field of Microsoft’s voice intelligence, ended up silently exiting in the end. Several of these lessons may be what Microsoft needs to pay attention to when developing this field.

  1. Lost core usage scenarios

Microsoft had far-sighted realized the ability of voice interaction on the mobile side, and believed that Cortana has the opportunity to become the entrance to the next generation of human-computer interaction, but the defeat of Windows Phone made Cortana lose the most natural use scenario and lost in the mobile market. Starting line.

2. “Make a car behind closed doors” to make products

In the design of Cortana’s products, Microsoft has always tightly controlled the power in its own hands, and all content is done by Microsoft itself. In the information age, algorithms are surplus, and they must be in line with the outside world and continue to interact and integrate with the market. Otherwise, even if the product is launched, it will not survive.

3. Slow action

Cortana’s application scenarios are actually not only mobile phones. In 2017, Harman Kardon launched the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker with built-in Cortana, preparing to compete with Amazon Echo. But in fact, as early as two years ago, the team members tried to connect to Cortana with smart speakers in Shenzhen, China, and they can work normally, but the headquarters insisted on releasing the most high-end products from the United States, and other regions followed up. In the end, the Harman Kardon Invoke was launched two years later. From the initial $199 to $100, only 20,000 sets were sold and stopped. Slow action and inaccurate judgment of the market made Cortana miss the opportunity to seize important usage scenarios.

4. Strive for a stable but slow design

After Cortana was launched, it has undergone many optimizations and designs, but they may not have anticipated that it has taken the lead. The market will develop faster than expected. New products have sprung up like bamboo shoots after a rain, but the team is still delaying the design progress again and again in order to be safe, and this delay has been dragged down.

In China, Cortana used to be a highly rated feature by users, and many users also had high hopes for it, but it failed in the end. Perhaps losing Windows Phone is a great loss to Cortana, but it is not necessarily fatal. Baidu and Amazon do not have their own mobile phones, but the development of their voice assistants is still very good. Perhaps missed opportunities and usage scenarios time and time again, as well as the slow development and design process, and the chaos of internal management is the fatal reasons.

Microsoft’s acquisition of Nuance, the application scenarios should not be limited to the field of healthcare. Integrating Nuance’s voice recognition technology with other products under its umbrella may be the next step to enhance its strength in this field.

How will Microsoft’s intelligent voice field develop? Are you optimistic about Nuance joining? Welcome to discuss this in the comments section.

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