Microsoft $19.7 billion acquisition of Nuance Communications officially closed on Friday, paving the way for the company to expand into the health care space and improve its communications software with AI tech.
As the backbone of Siri, Nuance already works with health care giants like Epic, Humana and Cleveland Clinic. Longtime rival Oracle made a similar play just a few weeks ago, with its agreement to buy Cerner for $28 billion. Cerner, which provides healthcare records, is also a Nuance customer.
Microsoft also plans to use Nuance's technology to update its contact center by automating work for call center agents. The broader vision is to use its capabilities in conversational AI "across healthcare, financial services, retail, telecommunications and other industries with Microsoft’s global cloud ecosystems," wrote Mark Benjamin, Nuance CEO in the announcement. Benjamin will retain his role as CEO of Nuance post-acquisition, and will report to Microsoft Cloud and AI group leader Scott Guthrie.
The acquisition, which was originally announced in April of last year, is one of the largest ever for Microsoft, eclipsed only by its $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn.