Microsoft apparently has its finger on the pulse of what is hot. One thing that is definitely hot right now in tech is AI, and one topic on everyone’s minds during the pandemic has been healthcare. Microsoft went all in and acquired Nuance, a company with cloud and AI software in the healthcare space.
Microsoft Announces Acquisition of Nuance
Nuance isn’t just any AI software company, either. It has a pretty impressive pedigree. It happens to be the same software company that helped launch Siri, which Apple famously acquired. Can Microsoft have the same success?
Microsoft announced the acquisition of Nuance on Monday. Nuance CEO Mark Benjamin will remain and will be under Microsoft’s Cloud & AI division executive vice president, Scott Guthrie.
In its announcement, Microsoft said it “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.”
The company sees the acquisition as the next step in its cloud strategy. Along with Siri, Nuance is also known for developing conversational AI and cloud-based clinical intelligence used in the healthcare industry. Its current products include the Dragon Ambient eXperience, Dragon Medical One, and PowerScribe One.
All of those products happen to be built on Microsoft Azure. Nuance has also had a longstanding relationship with Electronic Health Records. More than 55 percent of doctors and 75 percent of radiologists in the United States already use Nuance systems, and it’s used in 77 percent of hospitals as well.
Microsoft and Nuance actually started working together in 2019. Now they will be “better able to empower healthcare providers through the power of ambient clinical intelligence and other Microsoft cloud services.” The acquisition will augment Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare.
“Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery and is a pioneer in the real-world application of enterprise AI,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO.
“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.”
It just can’t be overstated here that Nuance is also the company that helped launch Siri. Does Microsoft have similar aspirations for Nuance? Its systems are well-positioned in the healthcare industry, but would it like to explore more outside that space?
It’s not known, but Benjamin did say this: “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.”
He further added, “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. 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.”
Could the two companies be envisioning a replacement for Cortana? Is it a coincidence that Cortana was pulled from Android and iOS on March 31? Read on to learn what Microsoft stripped from Cortana a year ago.