Microsoft has announced it will purchase directory assistance provider
TellMe Networks Inc. for an undisclosed sum. Analysts point the figure
at somewhere around $800 million dollars, making it the biggest
acquisition for the company since 2002.
Microsoft hopes to gain leverage against competitors Yahoo! and Google
by integrating mobile search using Windows Live Search and voice
activated assistance as a way to make mobile search easier for
consumers as well as integrate voice search functions into its major
product lines such as Office, Windows Live, and others. TellMe Networks
is known for allowing people to use voice commands to search for
local businesses, driving directions, sports scores, stock
quotes, weather and news from the Internet with 1-800-555-TELL.
From the press release:
“Speech is universal, simple and holds incredible promise as a key
interface for computing,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer
of Microsoft. “Tellme brings to Microsoft the talent, technology and
proven experience in speech that will enable us to deliver a new wave
of products and revolutionize human-computer interaction.” The purchase
is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year.