Rumors are rife that Microsoft is in talks to acquire Tellme Networks, notes GigaOm. The WSJ and CNet have both reported the news, and said that the asking price could be $800 million — but GigaOm claims its source said the price will be higher than that. Tellme is profitable and has raised over $235 million in venture funding.
The attraction for Microsoft is apparently the promise of using Tellme’s voice interface and back-end server technologies to help in MS’s plan of converging data and voice, especially on mobiles and other non-PC devices.
According to CNet: “In addition to Tellme’s existing products, the company has been testing a host of new products tied to the cell phone, including a program that allows users to say what it is they want and have the information sent back to their cell phone as data. Another new product lets people send Tellme a text message with a request, say “pizza places in San Francisco,” and get a text message back with options.” It could also give an inroad to the telcos, with GigaOm saying that Tellme “counts most large mobile and telecom companies as its customers”.