Microsoft partnered with Nuance Communications in 2019 to develop ambient sensing and conversational AI systems that would automate healthcare administrative tasks and clinical documentation while physicians focused their full attention to taking care of patients. Now, a new report suggests the software giant is acquiring the artificial intelligence company.
Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports Microsoft may announce an agreement with Nuance as early as this week. Discussions are not yet final between the two companies and Nuance could be valued at around $56 per share if current negotiations hold. This means the deal could be worth $16 billion, Bloomberg noted.
It's also worth noting that Nuance provided the underlying technology for Apple's Siri digital assistant. Nuance's speech recognition system called Dragon, in particular, is at the core of its AI offerings for various industries including healthcare, legal, law enforcement, education, and financial services.
Microsoft's rumored discussion with Nuance is a step forward in the Redmond-based company's longstanding AI push. Its most recent investment in AI came in the form of a partnership with Qualcomm late last year to enhance the development and deployment of AI and machine learning systems for developers working in this area.
That said, Microsoft's talks with Nuance could still fall apart. But if it succeeds, it will be the company's second largest acquisition to date, next only to its $24 billion purchase of LinkedIn in 2016.