Microsoft Announces Tellme Acquisition
From the release:
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.
Among the areas highlighted for development is mobile search:
Mobile services and search. Tellme’s speech expertise and work in mobile search, combined with Microsoft’s innovative local and mobile search offerings, will help take the mobile search usability experience to the next level.
As this bullet above suggests, voice potentially brings more user-friendly interfaces to mobile devices (in addition to other applications). Tellme already has well-established consumer applications that could help Microsoft gain an advantage in the emerging and extremely competitive world of mobile search.
Om Malik has some additional details on the price and post-acquisition scenarios. I’ve posted some additional thoughts on my personal blog. And Microsoft’s Don Dodge confirms that mobile and local search are the keys to the acquisition.