The previous rumors were confirmed today as Microsoft formally announced the acquitisition of Tellme Networks:
Microsoft Corp. today announced it will acquire Tellme Networks, Inc., a leading provider of voice services for everyday life, including nationwide directory assistance, enterprise customer service and voice-enabled mobile search. Microsoft and Tellme share a vision around the potential of speech as a way to enable access to information, locate other people and enhance business processes, any time and from any device. Combining Tellme’s talented people and expertise in high-volume voice services with Microsoft’s platform, resources and worldwide customer reach will inspire new and innovative solutions.
Tellme is a leader in voice services for the phone, including its popular mobile search services on 1-800-555-TELL. Founded in 1999, the privately held company answers millions of calls every day for information such as finding local businesses, driving directions, sports scores, stock quotes, weather, news, movie show times and more. Businesses use Tellme’s voice services and platform to provide customers with voice-access services ranging from banking to package tracking. These services are built on Tellme’s voice platform that analyzes caller requests to continually improve the system’s accuracy and overall caller experience.
Potential areas of development resulting from the deal will range from hosted voice-enabled customer service solutions that complement Microsoft’s existing unified communications offerings to voice user interfaces in existing Microsoft products to search services on mobile phones that integrate with Live Search for mobile offerings. In addition, developers and partners will be able to build new speech-based solutions on top of a scalable, standards-based voice-enabled applications platform.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced. The deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2007. Tellme, which has more than 320 employees, will continue to operate from its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters as part of the Microsoft Business Division. Following the closing of the acquisition, the Tellme business is expected to be maintained, and members of the Tellme executive team and staff are expected to join Microsoft.
Microsoft’s Don Dodge says that voice/mobile search is the target market as does Om Malik who has other interesting buzz about the deal including a price tag between $800M and $1B, the expectation that the Tellme executives will stay on, and an estimate of Tellme’s non-glitzy but lucrative automated call center business at $100M per year.