April 12, 2021 at 03:19PM

Microsoft is acquiring artificial intelligence (AI) speech recognition tech company Nuance Communications in a $19.7 billion deal to advance its cloud products for healthcare. The deal is anticipated to close before the end of this year.

“Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery and is a pioneer in the real-world application of enterprise AI,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a Monday (April 12) press release.

“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 we accelerate growth of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and Nuance,” Nadella said.

The acquisition will help Microsoft step up its strategy to expand its product offerings for industry-specific cloud tech. The overall aim of the combined entity is to provide further technical support for its customers going through fast-paced digital disruptions. Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare was launched last year to tackle the “comprehensive needs” of the rapidly changing healthcare industry.

“Over the past three years, Nuance has streamlined its portfolio to focus on the healthcare and enterprise AI segments, where there has been accelerated demand for advanced conversational AI and ambient solutions,” said Nuance CEO Mark Benjamin.

He added that Microsoft is the perfect partner to “enable more personal, affordable and effective connections to people and care.”

Benjamin will remain CEO of Nuance, reporting to Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Cloud and AI at Microsoft.

Microsoft first announced its plans to acquire Nuance over the weekend in a $16 billion deal. The companies have already teamed up in the past on note dictation tools for medical professionals. Nuance is the company behind the speech-recognition technology that powers Apple’s Siri.

Microsoft Acquires AI Firm Nuance In $19.7 Billion Deal …

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