Microsoft took another step toward rounding out its unified communications vision Wednesday with a deal to acquire voice/speech services player Tellme Networks. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, although several online reports placed the transaction at $800 million. Microsoft declined to confirm the amount. A privately held company, Mountain View, Calif.-based Tellme provides a hosted services platform for voice/speech recognition services for mobile phones and other devices. Companies such as American Airlines and Dominos Pizza use the Tellme service to request services and information via voice commands.
For VARs, the acquisition stands to help them to build and extend voice-, speech- and mobile search solutions based on the Tellme platform and eventually integrate that with pieces of Microsoft's highly disparate unified communications and Office applications puzzle. "Why Tellme? Because it's the best hosted services platform for speech today," said Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft's Business Group. "Their investments in speech recognition and voice enhance our technologies and open up to more partners and ISVs."