Microsoft’s recent shopping spree reached a new climax in April 2021 with the announcement of the $19.7 billion acquisition of Nuance, a company that provides speech recognition and conversational AI services. Nuance is best known for its deep learning voice transcription service, which is very popular in the healthcare sector.
The acquisition is Microsoft’s biggest since the $26-billion purchase of LinkedIn. And it tells a lot about Microsoft’s AI strategy.
The two companies had already been working closely before the acquisition. Nuance had built several of its products on top of Microsoft’s Azure cloud. And Microsoft had been using Nuance’s Dragon service in its Cloud for Healthcare solution, launched last year in the midst of the pandemic.
Most of the focus in the announcement was on AI in healthcare, which makes sense because Nuance is a leading provider of AI services in the sector.
Nuance is known for its laser focus, which is in line with the current limits and capabilities of deep learning algorithms. Deep learning might not be very good at general problem solving or causal inference, but it can be extremely efficient at narrow tasks. Nuance has chosen one application (voice transcription) and has narrowed down its focus to one domain (clinical settings). This has enabled the company to train its machine learning models on tons of data in that specific field and make sure that its AI solutions have peak performance and reliability.
Read More about the acquisition of Nuance by Microsoft and why it did so....
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