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The number of companies Microsoft “could” purchase in a multi-billion acquisition is growing. While some of those rumors (Bloomberg) disappear as soon as they gather steam, others (TikTok) are more concrete. But with Nuance Communication, the company is taking the plunge and shelling out $19.7 billion to acquire the AI specialist.

Reports over the weekend suggested Microsoft was in advanced talks to acquire Nuance for $16 billion and a deal could be announced this week. Microsoft is already a partner with Nuance, so discussions between the companies should be easier. It was thought discussions were ongoing and the estimated value could change.

On Monday morning, Microsoft confirmed the acquisition and that indeed the price was different. In paying $19.7 billion, this becomes Microsoft’s second largest acquisition ever. It follows the $26.2 billion the company paid for business social network LinkedIn back in 2016.

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The company says the purchase will further it’s cloud-first strategy:

“Microsoft has accelerated its efforts to provide industry-specific cloud offerings to support customers and partners as they respond to disruption and new opportunities. These efforts include the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, introduced in 2020, which aims to address the comprehensive needs of the rapidly transforming and growing healthcare industry. Today’s acquisition announcement represents the latest step in Microsoft’s industry-specific cloud strategy.”

Cloud-First

Nuance is an artificial intelligence company that leads conversational AI solutions for cloud-based ambient clinical intelligence. Among the healthcare products the company offers are Dragon Medical One, Dragon Ambient eXperience, and PowerScribe.

Microsoft has been in partnership with Nuance Communications since 2019, co-developing ambient sending and conversational AI systems.

As the company comes under Microsoft’s wing, Redmond says current Nuance CEO, Mark Benjamin, will remain at the helm. He will work directly under Microsoft Executive Vice President of Cloud & AI Scott Guthrie. Microsoft expects the deal to be finalized by the end of 2021.

Tip of the day:

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