Samsung could buy Nuance, the company behind Swype and Siri’s voice recognition

by: Bogdan PetrovanJune 17, 2014

samsung galaxy s5 aa s voice

Nuance Communications reportedly held acquisition talks with Samsung earlier this year.

Nuance is one of the biggest players in speech recognition technology; the Massachusetts-based company’s voice recognition software underpins Samsung’s S Voice assistant, as well as Apple’s Siri. Other clients of the company include automakers like Daimler, and smart TV manufacturers like Panasonic.

According to people familiar with the matter cited by the Wall Street Journal, Nuance engaged in talks about a possible sale to Samsung and a group of private-equity firms. The talks happened “recently,” but their current status is unknown.

Nuance began life as an offshoot of SRI International, a nonprofit research institute with ties with Stanford University. With a current market cap of around $5.5 billion, the company is a clear leader in speech recognition technology, but its portfolio of technologies extends into related fields such as OCR software, virtual assistance, and touchscreen input technologies. In 2011, Nuance bought Swype, maker of one of the first original gesture-based keyboard apps for Android.

Buying Nuance would give Samsung an edge in the crucial field of virtual assistance technology, with applications in smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, wearables, autos, and smart homes. The move would give Samsung direct control over a key feature of modern smart devices, as well as access to a trove of patents related to voice recognition and predictive text input. Buying Nuance would also contribute to Samsung’s stated goal to improve and expand its software and services and to create a platform of its own that doesn’t depend on Google.

  • Neon

    OH MY GOD! Swype is screwed… RIP SWYPE!!!!!!!

    • john

      Swype isn’t screwed. It’s just a business matter mainly involving the acquisition of patent rights. It’s a smart business move for both companies.

      • john

        Also technology, ofc.

  • Luka Mlinar

    They are shaping up to be the king of gimmicks :D

    • Flip Jumpman

      And you are shaping up to be the King of Trolls!

      Just how would this be a gimmick hater?

      • Luka Mlinar

        Oh come on, talking to your phone :D

    • MasterMuffin

      Better keyboard is a good thing

  • Siphiwe

    I used to love Swype until SwiftKey went free! So, in a way it doesn’t really affect me. :)

  • Jayfeather787

    So, is Siri gone after this? If so, excellent.

    • MasterMuffin

      Samsung should sue Apple after the acquisition ;)

  • Anonymousfella

    So a better S-Voice after all? I wish

    • Maranello Santiago

      S Voice on the Note 3 isn’t so bad, maybe not even bad at all. It may have gained a bad reputation, but its usable. But its redundant with Google Now, with Google Now doing some things better. I do like how I could wake my phone by saying “hi galaxy”, (reminds me of the Moto X), doesn’t seem to be an advertised feature though.

      • AnonGuy

        Google Now is more redundant than S Voice is, since S Voice does a lot more voice related things than the Google Search app does. What S Voice needs is on device voice to text processing. The main issue with it is the speed at which it processes text because it has to upload low quality voice recordings to the cloud for processing.
        If S Voice had a faster query to response turn around, no one would complain about it. Google Now voice actions are extremely limited and overrated. Almost unusable with the way it slows down the process for some actions as well.

        • Maranello Santiago

          Hey, if S Voice improves, I’m for it. I’ll put it to some use when I run Touchwiz.

  • Mikesphoneandtab

    If they are able to improve S Voice with this then I’m all for it.

  • Lisandro O Oocks

    they really should’ve bought them a long while ago. preferably right before Samsung decided to bring its own “Siri” like app.

  • Adon

    Looks like someone wants revenge lol. Naughty Sammy (sammy wants another bite of the apple).

  • Corbin Crutch

    Bet you $5 that Samsung uses swype to improve the Samsung keyboard greatly to keep up with LG’s “Smart Keyboard”. I know it’s not all that but OEMs sell phones based on their software features to a lot of people that don’t know tech