Microsoft Pays Big Bucks to Acquire Tellme Networks

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has reportedly made its most pricey acquisition since 2002. The Redmond-based company purchased Tellme Networks, and although the price remains undisclosed, it is estimated to be upwards of $800 million. (Source:

Tellme Networks is a voice recognition company and has made a name for itself by becoming a leader in recognizing and responding to voice inquiries on the telephone. Tellme currently powers over 40% of all directory assistance calls in the US. (Source:

Meanwhile, Microsoft has been experimenting with voice recognition capabilities for quite some time. Vista includes a version that enables users to dictate email and documents, browse the Internet and launch applications. (Source:

Microsoft is currently evaluating the possibility of using Tellme's technologies to host voice-enabled customer service offerings for existing Microsoft products. They may also use the new acquisition to add voice interfaces to Microsoft products and integrate mobile phone-based searches with Microsoft Live Search. (Source:

The success of mobile phone applications has led many Internet companies to comment on the idea that voice may play a large role in their future.

Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division said: "We see voice and speech recognition as way to improve interaction with productivity software. Last week at VoiceCon, we said we expect that in three years 100 million people will be able to click to call within their applications. We think speech recognition will be part of that. People are on the go. They want the ability to use voice as a way to interface--whether it is to access information or connect with callers." (Source:

Despite his candidness when discussing voice applications, Raikes clammed up when asked whether the Tellme deal was the start of a slew of acquisitions in the area of search. He simply replied "We're always looking at acquisitions that can help bring great people to Microsoft." (Source:

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