The company that helped develop Apple’s Siri is considering a sale, with potential buyers including Samsung, The Wall Street Journal reports. Nuance’s speech recognition software is already in use on Samsung’s smartphones.
Aside from Samsung, a number of private equity firms too are said to be in line to buy Nuance. There is however no word on if Apple is one of the interested parties. Investor Carl Icahn, who holds about $2 billion worth of shares at Apple, also happens to be the biggest shareholder at Nuance with a 19 percent stake.
This connection kick started rumors about Icahn pushing Apple to buy Nuance, a claim that Icahn categorically later denied. He was quoted as saying, “I don’t have the expertise or the presumption to say I have the expertise to tell him [Tim Cook] to do that.” It is unclear what impact a possible Nuance acquisition would have on Apple’s relationship with the company.
Last year, a report surfaced online claiming that Apple was shifting Siri’s development in-house and also setup a dedicated team in Boston. This could be the backup team working on Siri’s voice recognition software, in case Nuance was acquired by a rival company.
Apart from powering Siri, Nuance also develops voice–powered technology for mobile phones, and GPS navigation devices. It is also known for its speech recognition and dictation recognition software, Dragon NaturallySpeaking. The company’s customers list includes the likes of Daimler AG, Nintendo Co, and Panasonic, in addition to Samsung and Apple.