Added by Nigel Shelbourne on October 7, 2011
Nuance, maker of popular speech recognition software, acquired Swype, maker of a popular virtual keyboard for touchscreen devices including phones powered by Google’s Android operating system, on Friday in a deal worth US$102.5m.
Swype virtual keyboards are available and in use in over 50m Android-powered devices like smartphones and tablet computers. Swype allows uses to trace words on a virtual keyboard without lifting their finger from the keyboard between letters – users only lift their finger from the virtual keyboard between words and many users achieve 50 words per minute using Swype.
Swype’s founder, Cliff Kushler, also founded T9, a predictive text technology he created at Tegic Communications. Nuance bought T9 from AOL in 2007.
Nuance’s Dragon speech recognition engine powers speech recognition in Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS, and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry devices. There are reports that Nuance’s software is included in Siri, a new voice-activated control technology that is integrated into Apple’s iPhone 4S – announced just days ago.
In the deal, Nuance will pay US$77.5m at closing, and will pay the remaining US$25m in 18 months.
Prior to acquisition Swype raised about US$14m in funding from investors that include Samsung Ventures and Nokia Growth Partners.