Samsung in talks to buy Nuance, which powers S Voice, Siri, and Dragon
Speech recognition is big business these days as voice command becomes more and more prevalent with mobile devices, and Nuance is a company that has a long history in the business. Nuance released its first commercial speech application back in 1996 and has gone on to be the company behind Dragon Naturally Speaking, S Voice, and even Siri.
Now, Nuance may be in talks to sell. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Nuance has been talking with various private-equity firms as well as Samsung regarding a possible sale. The talks have been happening since earlier this year, but it is unclear where they stand now. It is no surprise to hear Samsung's name in the mix given that Nuance's technology powers S Voice, which is Samsung's answer to Google Now and Siri. It is interesting though that Apple's name hasn't been mentioned in regards to the purchase of Nuance, since the technology is also used to power Siri. If Samsung were to purchase Nuance, it is unclear what would happen to Siri. After dropping $3 billion on Beats, Apple may not want to dip into its reserves again, although its last SEC filing said Apple had almost $160 billion in cash on hand, so it's not like the money wouldn't be there.
Nuance will likely fetch a pretty high price. The company started the day with a market cap value of around $5.5 billion, but the news of the potential sale caused a spike in its stock price, which has brought its market cap up to almost $6 billion. Samsung has admitted that it needs to bolster its software offerings, and has been spending $12 billion a year on R&D to meet that aim. A quick purchase of Nuance could go a long way to meeting that aim.