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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nuance to acquire rival Vlingo to build a better Siri

Voice technology firm Nuance has agreed to buy its top rival Vlingo for an undisclosed sum, the companies announced this morning.

 

Nuance has been providing voice technology for years but has recently been getting a lot of attention for powering Siri, the well-advertised voice assistant on the iPhone 4S. Vlingo has been Nuance’s heated rival in the tech space, and interestingly enough, Nuance had sued Vlingo in court for patent infringement, while Vlingo bought its own set of patents to counter-sue Nuance and stop it in its tracks.

 

But the two are putting aside the lawsuits with the acquisition. Now they can work together to boost the power and innovation of natural voice technology. Most likely, they’ll do what they can to improve the highly-popular Siri and similar voice apps across mobile platforms.

 

“Inspired by the introduction of services such as Apple’s Siri and our own Dragon Go!, virtually every mobile and consumer electronics company on the planet is looking for ways to integrate natural, conversational voice interactions into their mobile products, applications and services,” said Mike Thompson, Senior VP of Nuance Mobile, in a statement. “By acquiring Vlingo, we are able to accelerate the pace of innovation to meet this demand.”

 

Nuance appears to be on an acquisition streak in hopes of neutralizing the competition. Before Vlingo, Nuance agreed to acquire texting technology company Swype for a reported $102.5 million back in October. Nuance’s T9 predictive text software is a direct competitor to Swype’s technology, which lets people quickly draw from point to point on touch-screen keyboards.

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