updated 11:40 am EST, Tue December 20, 2011
Nuance takes over Vlingo
Nuance shook up the smartphone field Tuesday by acquiring Vlingo. The deal gives it a natural language voice command system available both after the fact and preloaded on phones like the iPhone 4S, which itself uses Nuance as part of its recognition.
"Inspired by the introduction of services such as Apple’s Siri and our own Dragon Go!, virtually every mobile and consumer electronics company on the planet is looking for ways to integrate natural, conversational voice interactions into their mobile products, applications, and services," Senior VP Mike Thompson said.
Terms of the deal weren't given out, although the absence of a cost in the US is usually an indication the purchase price was low enough that the buyer wasn't legally required to share the numbers in public.
While Vlingo won't necessarily disappear, its acquisition could put in doubt whether or not existing deals with Samsung and others will carry forward in the long term. Companies might have to switch to Nuance's own Dragon Go!, look for the few natural language alternatives, or develop their own engines.