Microsoft has announced it will buy the speech recognition firm Nuance Communications for $20bn.
Nuance has been around since the 90s and has done a range of things, but is best known for its speech recognition technology. The company partnered with Apple to create the Siri virtual assistant and its Dragon speech recognition system is widely used in healthcare.
The press release from Microsoft emphasised the access the company has in the healthcare market. Nuance systems are used in 77% of US hospitals. However, the aquisition will also allow access to Nuance's expertise in using a machine learning system at scale in production.
🛎️ Why this matters: $20bn is a lot - this shows how important speech is likely to become.