Microsoft today announced it will acquire Tellme Networks, a leading provider of voice services for everyday life, including nationwide directory assistance, enterprise customer service and voice-enabled mobile search.
“Speech is universal, simple and holds incredible promise as a key interface for computing,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Tellme brings to Microsoft the talent, technology and proven experience in speech that will enable us to deliver a new wave of products and revolutionize human-computer interaction.”
Potential areas of development resulting from the deal will range from hosted voice-enabled customer service solutions to voice user interfaces in existing Microsoft products and search services on mobile phones. In addition, developers and partners will be able to build new speech-based solutions on top of a scalable, standards-based voice-enabled applications platform.
Combining Tellme’s technologies with Microsoft’s products is expected to enable:
- Unified communications. Tellme’s voice-enabled services combined with Microsoft’s communications voice services will allow customers and industry partners to build highly scalable voice solutions with identity, presence, messaging and application integration.
- Speech platform. Tellme’s voice-enabled platform helps Microsoft’s developers and partners to build speech solutions based on open standards.
- Mobile services and search. Tellme’s speech expertise, combined with Microsoft’s local and mobile search, will improve mobile search usability.
- Software plus services. Tellme technology will enhance Microsoft’s voice-enabled applications, including the Windows Vista, Microsoft Office, and mobile applications such as Windows Mobile and Windows Automotive.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced but the acquisition was broadly thought to be worth close to $800 million. The deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2007. Tellme, which has more than 320 employees, will continue to operate from its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.