April 12, 2021 at 12:37AM

Microsoft is in “advanced talks” to buy Nuance Communications, a leader in voice recognition technologies whose products include Dragon, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.

At the share price under discussion, Nuance would fetch about $16 billion. A deal could be announced as early as this week, according to Bloomberg.

A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment and no representative at Nuance could be reached for comment, Bloomberg reported. Microsoft is based in Redmond, Washington, and Nuance in Burlington, Massachusetts.

The companies have collaborated on offerings since 2019, according to Bloomberg, with some of the systems to let medical professional voice dictate notes related to patient visits.

Nuance provides the speech-recognition power underpinning Apple’s Siri digital assistant, the Financial Times (FT) reported.

Acquiring Nuance could let Microsoft expand its offerings in the healthcare and telecommunications sectors, according to published reports.

“This can really help Microsoft accelerate the digitization of the healthcare industry, which has lagged other sectors such as retail and banking,” Anurag Rana, a Bloomberg Intelligence senior analyst said, according to the news service. “The biggest near-term benefit that I can see is in the area of telehealth, where Nuance transcription product is currently being used with Microsoft Teams.”

According to Bloomberg, an acquisition of Nuance would represent the second-largest purchase in Microsoft’s history. In 2016, the software giant bought LinkedIn for $24 billion.

The pandemic has increased interest in, and the importance of, biometric systems that don’t involve physical contact, such as voice recognition, Todd Mozer, CEO and chairman of voice-tech firm Sensory told PYMNTS in June.

“I think people really realized that shared touch is gone or going, and I think that creates a … new type of biometric that’s needed,” he said, noting that fingerprint scanning on any kind of publicly used device has become unappealing to consumers.

Microsoft Could Sign Deal Monday With Voice-Tech Pioneer Nuance …

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