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Samsung might buy the voice recognition firm behind Apple's Siri

Korean firm reportedly is in talks with Nuance about potential acquisition
Tue Jun 17 2014, 13:25

apple-siriSAMSUNG REPORTEDLY is in talks with Nuance, the company that provides the voice processing technology behind Apple's Siri, about a possible acquisition.

So says the Wall Street Journal, which reports that Nuance is in talks with Samsung [paywalled], along with some private equity firms, about a possible deal. If the rumours are true, it's unclear how much Samsung will have to pay for the voice recognition technology firm, but last year it was rumoured that Apple might pick up Nuance for around $7bn.

It's unclear when the talks between Samsung and Nuance occurred, or whether they are still ongoing. The WSJ notes, "The Burlington, Mass., company has recently spoken about a possible sale of the company with Samsung Electronics Co. and private-equity firms, some of the people said. It isn't clear where sale talks, some of which happened earlier this year, currently stand or if they will lead to a deal."

Still, investors are clearly excited about a possible Samsung buyout, as following the reports release on Monday shares in Nuance rose 11 percent to $19.04, boosting its previous $5.5bn valuation. 

While some might see this as Samsung stepping on rival Apple's toes, the Korean firm licenses Nuance's voice recognition technology for its own devices, including smartphones, TVs and tablets. Nuance said last September that it it would also power Samsung's upcoming wearable devices, such as the Tizen-powered Samsung Gear 2.

Samsung could be eyeing Nuance for its patent portfolio, too. As noted by Business Insider, the firm's extensive patents hoard includes some patents for IBM's speech technology and the popular predictive text technology known as T9.

Neither Samsung nor Nuance have commented on the report. µ


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