In the relatively new natural language, voice-enabled virtual assistant industry, Nuance is an old player. Not only does the company provide their own voice-enabled software for multiple mobile platforms, they are the backbone behind Apple’s Siri. Clearly, Nuance saw the potential in natural voice powered applications before they were all the rage. But with today’s purchase of Vlingo based around the desire to speed up innovation and meet customer demand, they may have underestimated it.

Details of the deal were not made available to the public, but Nuance has acquired Vlingo. According to the press release in which the acquisition was announced, the deal was “fueled by unprecedented demand for intelligent voice interfaces that combine voice, language understanding and semantic processing.”

Nuance cites Siri, and of course their own Dragon Go!, as the inspiration behind the demand for voice-enabled software, saying that a $ 5 billion market opportunity has presented itself. Manufacturers and developers want voice-enabled actions in their products ranging from mobile phones to tablets, TVs, music players, cars, GPS devices and everything in-between.

This is the second big acquisition for Nuance in the past several months. Back in October, Nuance purchased Swype in order to further enhance their virtual input footprint. It’s very likely that by sometime next year, we could see an all new product from Nuance that includes the best features from Dragon Go!, Flex T9, Swype and Vlingo. Nuance will easily be one of the top companies to watch as next year unfolds. Especially with competition from Apple’s Siri and Google’s Majel.

Show Press Release

Nuance to acquire Vlingo

Burlington, Mass. – December 20, 2011 – Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Vlingo, Inc. Fueled by unprecedented demand for intelligent voice interfaces that combine voice, language understanding and semantic processing, Nuance and Vlingo will combine their deep innovation and R&D expertise to deliver next-generation natural language interfaces across numerous markets and industries.

Consumer interest and demand for virtual assistant and voice-enabled capabilities have exploded in recent months, creating a $ 5 billion market opportunity that spans phones, tablets, cars, televisions, navigation devices, music players, PCs and more. Both Nuance and Vlingo see an unprecedented appetite for intelligent devices that understand the spoken word and deliver outcomes for consumers and professionals.

“Inspired by the introduction of services such as Apple’s Siri and our own Dragon Go!, virtually every mobile and consumer electronics company on the planet is looking for ways to integrate natural, conversational voice interactions into their mobile products, applications, and services,” said Mike Thompson, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Nuance Mobile. “By acquiring Vlingo, we are able to accelerate the pace of innovation to meet this demand.”

“Vlingo and Nuance have long shared a similar vision for the power and global proliferation of mobile voice and language understanding. As a result of our complementary research and development efforts, our companies are stronger together than alone. Our combined resources afford us the opportunity to better compete, and offer a powerful proposition to customers, partners and developers,” said Dave Grannan, CEO, Vlingo.

By harnessing the combined expertise in voice, language and multilingual capabilities, Nuance will be able to take advantage of the adoption of intelligent mobile assistants, where consumers, businesses, doctors and patients can engage in more human, natural interactions with devices and systems all over the world.

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