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Microsoft is reportedly close to buying speech tech giant Nuance

The deal could give Microsoft advantages in AI, health tech and beyond.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 10: Microsoft logo is seen in a Microsoft store on March 10, 2021, in New York. The Nasdaq Composite continued falling more than half a percent during the day. Also, the move away from Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc , Facebook Inc, Tesla Inc and Microsoft Corp, falling during the day, helped small-cap stocks rise more than double the gains of the S&P 500. (Photo by John Smith/VIEWpress)
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Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|April 11, 2021 1:14 PM

Discord might not be Microsoft's only major acquisition target as of late. Bloomberg sources claim Microsoft is in "advanced talks" to buy speech technology giant Nuance in a deal worth roughly $16 billion. While there are no guarantees the move could go forward, negotiations have progressed enough that the two could announce a deal as early as this week.

We've asked Microsoft and Nuance for comment.

The purported insiders didn't say just why Microsoft wanted to acquire Nuance. A buyout could provide multiple advantages, however. Nuance is well-known for its AI-guided speech recognition, and Microsoft could incorporate both that and any other AI tools (including those for customer service) into its products. The potential deal might also fuel Microsoft's healthcare ambitions. The company has already worked with Nuance on Cloud for Healthcare and other projects, including one that would turn doctor-patient conversations into medical records.

This wouldn't necessarily pose danger for some of Nuance's public-facing tech, such as its Dragon Anywhere voice dictation software. It won't be surprising if Microsoft rethinks the strategy for that software, though, so don't be surprised if it gets an overhaul or eventually folds into other Microsoft apps and services.

Microsoft is reportedly close to buying speech tech giant Nuance