Nuance to buy Tweddle so you can talk to cars

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Nuance Communications, which makes the Dragon NaturallySpeaking line of software, announced last week that it would buy Tweddle Connect for $80 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter.

What most people don’t know is that Nuance’s Dragon Drive app is used in BMW, Chrysler and Ford products.  When they acquire Tweddle, they’ll get the provider of voice recognition software for in-vehicle technologies from Toyota in both their Entune and Lexus Enform app suites.

This will continue Nuance’s dominance of the field both on personal computers and in vehicles as this emerging technology catches hold in automotive. The ability to talk to your vehicle to, say, control the radio, change the climate controls, or ask for directions from the navigation system is the cutting edge of automotive technology today.

While it’s currently in the realm of high-end packages and luxury vehicles, that won’t last long. These sorts of things have a way of trickling down to become standard in cheaper and cheaper models until they’re common everywhere.  Just as air conditioning and cruise control are now standard in all but the lowest-end cars, so will voice recognition someday be.

In the mean time, Nuance is working hard to be the top provider in that arena, leveraging its expertise and name to gain market dominance.  So far, it’s worked well for them.

This latest acquisition will further that goal and make for an interesting market dynamic.


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