Microsoft Corp. has inked a deal to acquire cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) software company Nuance Communications for $19.7 billion. Mark Benjamin will remain CEO of Nuance, reporting to Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of cloud and AI at Microsoft. The transaction is slated to close later this year.
Nuance is provider of conversational AI and cloud-based ambient clinical intelligence for healthcare providers. Nuance’s products include the Dragon Ambient eXperience, Dragon Medical One and PowerScribe One for radiology reporting, all clinical speech recognition SaaS offerings built on Microsoft Azure. Nuance’s technologies work with core healthcare systems, including relationships with electronic health records (EHRs), to alleviate the burden of clinical documentation.
Nuance solutions are currently used by more than 55% of physicians and 75% of radiologists in the U.S., and used in 77% of U.S. hospitals. Nuance’s healthcare cloud revenue experienced 37% year-over-year growth in Nuance’s fiscal year 2020 (ended September 2020).
Microsoft’s acquisition of Nuance builds upon the 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.
“Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery and is a pioneer in the real-world application of enterprise AI,” says Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “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.”
Beyond healthcare, Nuance provides AI expertise and customer engagement solutions across Interactive Voice Response (IVR), virtual assistants, and digital and biometric solutions to companies around the world across all industries. This expertise will come together with the breadth and depth of Microsoft’s cloud, including Azure, Teams, and Dynamics 365, to deliver next-generation customer engagement and security solutions.
“Over the past three years, Nuance has streamlined its portfolio to focus on the healthcare and enterprise AI segments, where there has been accelerated demand for advanced conversational AI and ambient solutions,” says Mark Benjamin, CEO, Nuance.
“To seize this opportunity, we need the right platform to bring focus and global scale to our customers and partners to enable more personal, affordable and effective connections to people and care,” Benjamin adds. “The path forward is clearly with Microsoft—who brings intelligent cloud-based services at scale and who shares our passion for the ways technology can make a difference. At the same time, this combination offers a critical opportunity to deliver meaningful and certain value to our shareholders who have driven and supported us on this journey.”