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Microsoft Acquires TellMe

Microsoft has bought TellMe, an eight-year-old company that provides at 1-800-555-TELL a vast voice recognition platform. I’ve used TellMe for years, as an easy way to find sports scores, news, weather, and generally waste my phone’s battery power while using free night minutes, and it’s a great service that works really well (except on speakerphones). The purchase price was between $800 million and $1 billion, and TellMe will remain an independantly run subsidiary of Microsoft.

Potential areas of development resulting from the deal will range from hosted voice-enabled customer service solutions that complement Microsoft’s existing unified communications offerings to voice user interfaces in existing Microsoft products to search services on mobile phones that integrate with Live Search for mobile offerings. In addition, developers and partners will be able to build new speech-based solutions on top of a scalable, standards-based voice-enabled applications platform.

TellMe is a profitable company, that raised $239 million in venture capital, then proceeded to actually build a profitable business by building platforms on its technology for other companies phone system, so Microsoft gets something that actually works, and, in and of itself, could be a useful business. TellMe banks over $100 million a year selling automated call center technology to companies like FedEx.

March 18th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | no comments