Speech recognition technology has come a long way and has evolved to such an extent that it has become indispensable for companies competing in the cutthroat smartphones and mobile devices consumer market. With Apple all set to unveil their next iOS version, the iOS 5, at the WWDC this year, people expect a lot more from them considering the fact that Apple takes a fair beating from Google’s Android OS in the Speech recognition department. For the Same reason, reports suggest that Apple is willing to strike a deal with Nuance Communications, the company behind the powerful Dragon Diction engine which powers applications based on different platforms including Apple’s iOS.
Nuance is considered a titan when it comes to speech recognition technology as they hold many patients regarding speech recognition technology. But reports suggest that Apple is having a hard time striking a deal with Nuance. According to TechCrunch:
Apple has been negotiating a deal with Nuance in recent months, we’ve heard from multiple sources. What does that mean? Well, it could mean an acquisition, but that is looking fairly unlikely at this point, we hear. More likely, it means a partnership that will be vital to both companies and could shape the future of iOS.
Nuance CEO Paul Ricci can be as hard of a negotiator as Apple’s own Steve Jobs, we hear. And so there has been a standoff, and negotiations have been ongoing for months. Again, from what we’re hearing, all types of possibilities are still on the table, including an acquisition.
An interesting fact is that Nuance also happens to power the voice operation capabilities of SIRI, the artificial intelligence software Apple purchased last year which is believed to be an integral part of iOS 5.
Therefore Apple needs to strike a deal with Nuance to keep the service functional. Although Apple can develop something similar to Nuance’s technology from the ground up, it would be nowhere near completion by the time Apple releases the iOS 5.
Apple is a company which doesn’t like to be dependent and likes to have control, so naturally they would eventually cook something up regarding the speech technology, but for the time being they would have to strike a deal with Nuance, whether a licensing deal or outright acquisition of the company.