Nuance grabs Spinvox

SpinVox, the “state-of-the-art” company that uses underpaid droids in a call center to translate voice messages to SMS, has been snapped up by Nuance in a $102.5 million deal.

The purchase suggests that Nuance got quite a lot of $100 dollar bills from its aunties for Christmas and is desperately looking for something to spend them on.

Voice recognition software vendor Nuance says the deal will expand the capabilities of its advanced speech recognition platform.

“Around the world, the voice-to-text market has experienced tremendous growth over the last year, with a variety of innovative services being delivered by carriers and unified communications providers,” gushes John Pollard, vice president of Nuance Voice-to-Text Services.

“With SpinVox’s robust infrastructure, language support and operational experience, we will broaden the reach and capabilities of our platform.”

Back in the summer, it was revealed that SpinVox used human operators based in third world countries to perform translations for its voicemail-to-SMS service rather than the sophisticated automated system mentioned in the brochure.

At the time, the firm denied the claims, saying they were “both incorrect and inaccurate”, but later conceded that ‘some human intervention’ had been necessary in order to ‘increase the accuracy’ of its message conversion system.

As we have pointed out many times, companies often fail to step back from the problem they’re trying to address – selling a battery monitoring app for a laptop that costs the same as a spare battery, or designing a processor that uses five percent less power than the competition when that processor accounts for about two percent of a laptop’s power budget being but two.

The question Nuance and SpinVox should be asking themselves is why, when a person owns an SMS-capable phone, they will be prepared to pay for a service that converts their speech into an SMS message.

The answer is, of course, that they won’t. But hell, what do we know?