Confirmed: Microsoft to Acquire Tellme Networks
The were rumours flying around earlier this week (and before that), but now Microsoft has confirmed this morning it will acquire Tellme Networks:
"Microsoft Corp. today announced it will acquire Tellme Networks, Inc., a leading provider of voice services for everyday life, including nationwide directory assistance, enterprise customer service and voice-enabled mobile search. Microsoft and Tellme share a vision around the potential of speech as a way to enable access to information, locate other people and enhance business processes, any time and from any device. Combining Tellme’s talented people and expertise in high-volume voice services with Microsoft’s platform, resources and worldwide customer reach will inspire new and innovative solutions."
Talented people indeed.
"This acquisition will mark an important step forward in Microsoft’s strategy for delivering software plus services that put people at the center of technology solutions in the office, at home and on the go. For more than a decade, Microsoft has enabled speech, handwriting and touch as forms of natural user input, making computing and digital devices easier to use. Combining Tellme’s technologies with Microsoft’s existing and future products and services will help improve the way people use voice to find, use and share information"
OK, examples? From the press release:
- Unified communications. Tellme’s voice-enabled services and solutions for enterprise customers complement Microsoft’s unified communications voice services portfolio. This will allow customers and industry partners to build highly scalable voice solutions that leverage rich identity, presence, messaging and application integration.
- Speech platform. Tellme’s robust voice-enabled platform helps open new doors for Microsoft’s hundreds of thousands of developers and partners to build innovative speech solutions based on open standards.
- Mobile services and search. Tellme’s speech expertise and work in mobile search, combined with Microsoft’s innovative local and mobile search offerings, will help take the mobile search usability experience to the next level.
- Software plus services. In the long term, Tellme technology will enhance Microsoft’s many voice-enabled applications, including the Windows Vista™ operating system, the Microsoft Office system, and mobile applications such as Windows Mobile® and Windows® Automotive.
Financial details have not been disclosed but the deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2007.
You can tune into a conference call starting at 9:30am PST with an on-demand version available for a few days after that.
Just read Don Dodge's take on this (a director in Microsoft's Business Development team):
"TellMe will be an important piece of the mobile search puzzle. Users will be able to speak queries on their cell phones and get back results in text or speech. This is a huge step forward for mobile search and voice based search.
You might recall that I have been talking about Mobile Search and Local Search as two of the most lucrative search markets still up for grabs. It should be no surprise that Microsoft made this acquisition to go after these markets. Great move!"