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Microsoft in Talks to Buy Tellme Networks, Reports Indicate


14/03/2007

Software giant, Microsoft Corp., is rumored to be holding acquisition talks with Tellme Networks Inc., a privately held company that develops a variety of web-based speech recognition technology, and may buy the firm as early as this week, according to sources familiar with the deal.

Mountain View, California-based Tellme, which has been profitable for several years and could potentially sell for as much as $800 million, has created a number of software applications that let users access internet information over the telephone. It also provides automated data and directory assistance technology to businesses.

Most recently, Tellme has been attempting to enter the voice-based mobile search market with a product that lets cell phone users say a phrase like bookstores in Seattle, then receive a text message with possible options. If Microsoft acquires the firm, it could use this technology in its ongoing efforts to compete with search rival, Google Inc., in the mobile market.

In an interview earlier this month, Microsoft Business president, Jeff Raikes, emphasized the role that mobile devices would play in the software giant’s future business model. If Tellme is acquired, it would most likely become a part of Raikes’ unit.

Neither Microsoft, nor Tellme itself, has confirmed or denied the acquisition rumors at this point.

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