DIPLOMATIC ECONOMY

Microsoft Asks EC To Clear Nuance Acquisition

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The European Commission (EC) set a provisional deadline of December 21 to issue a decision on Microsoft’s proposed purchase of Nuance Communications, potentially bringing the software giant a step closer to closing a US$19.7 billion purchase of the AI specialist.

Microsoft won approval from US regulators earlier this year. In April it predicted the transaction will close by end-December.

It filed for EC approval on 16 November.

Nuance Communications makes speech recognition software used by Apple’s Siri voice assistant and a number of mobile operators including Verizon, Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom.

When it unveiled the deal, Microsoft also cited the company’s traction in healthcare as a motivator. The software business markets its Azure cloud service to the sector and expects benefits by employing mixed reality and AI.

Microsoft stated in April it plans to leave Nuance CEO Mark Benjamin in place. If the deal is approved, he will report to Scott Guthrie, the software giant’s EVP of cloud and AI.

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