How to set up 'Hey Siri' on iPhone or iPadSource: Joseph Keller/iMore

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has confirmed it is buying AI outfit Nuance.
  • Nuance played a large role in helping build Siri.

Microsoft today confirmed that it is paying $19.7 billion to take control of Nuance, the AI company that had a major role to play in creating Siri.

The move, Microsoft says, will help it accelerate its cloud strategy in relation to healthcare and AI initiatives.

Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery and is a pioneer in the real-world application of enterprise AI. AI is technology's most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application. Together, with our partner ecosystem, we will put advanced AI solutions into the hands of professionals everywhere to drive better decision-making and create more meaningful connections, as we accelerate growth of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and Nuance.

The deal means that Nuance is valued at around $56 per share with CNBC reporting that Microsoft first made a move to pick up Nuance back in December of last year.

Other than its work on helping build Siri, Nuance is probably best known for its Dragon speech-recognition software, although its moves into health-related AI are what has caused Microsoft to get involved. The pair have been working together since 2019, Microsoft's statement points out.

Microsoft's acquisition of Nuance builds upon the successful existing partnership between the companies that was announced in 2019. By augmenting the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare with Nuance's solutions, as well as the benefit of Nuance's expertise and relationships with EHR systems providers, Microsoft will be better able to empower healthcare providers through the power of ambient clinical intelligence and other Microsoft cloud services.

Despite the work done by Nuance, Siri still isn't quite able to compete with the biggest and best in the smart speaker market. In fact, the best smart speaker available right now features Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, with Siri left out in the cold.

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