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Of all the companies that would make sense for Apple to acquire, Nuance — the company behind Siri — would seem high on the list. That's apparently not the case. A new report from the Wall Street Journal states that Apple's chief rival Samsung is moving in to acquire the influential creator of voice-recognition software, which could mean dire things for the folks in Cupertino if the deal goes through.
Nuance isn't just known for Siri; it's also the company behind DragonNaturallySpeaking, one of the first and most reliable names in voice-recognition software. The company has also done some work for Amazon and other companies, but its relationship with Apple has earned it the most attention in recent years. Apple managed to keep the extent of the relationship secret for some time after Siri's launch, but last year Nuance CEO Paul Ricci confirmed that the iPhone maker does, in fact, rely heavily on the service.
That could change in the near future. Just last April, Apple bought the rival speech recognition service Novauris, which was founded by former team members from DragonNaturallySpeaking. Back in July of last year, Apple quietly staffed its Boston office with voice-recognition specialists formerly employed by VoiceSignal Technologies. It was the first indication that the Cupertino company was attempting to distance itself from Nuance.
Apple thus appears to have been preparing for a development like this, but there's always a chance that the transition to an entirely in-house service could see a few bumps as in the case of the launch of Apple Maps. As for Nuance, it's possible Apple doesn't even have anything to worry about. As the Journal reports, "It isn't clear where sale talks, some of which happened earlier this year, currently stand or if they will lead to a deal."
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.