Tellme Networks Founder and General Manager Mike McCue (pictured, right) is leaving the company at the end of June, according to Kara Swisher of All Things D, who is reporting that in addition to McCue’s departure that Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is overhauling its entire speech-recognition efforts.
She reports that Zig Serafin, who has been running a lot of Microsoft’s speech technology efforts from Redmond, Wash., will be taking over both Tellme and all other related areas to form one unit — based out of Tellme’s Mountain View, Calif. headquarters — that will have around 400 employees. According to Swisher, who talked to both McCue and Serafin, they are now meeting at Tellme’s offices about the changes. McCue told Swisher that he will be taking some time off after he leaves Tellme and then plans on working on another start-up and also advising companies.
Since Microsoft acquired Tellme two years ago for $800 million, the division has been laying fairly low. However, a couple weeks ago, it announced that it will play an integral role in the Windows Mobile 6.5 operating due out this fall. Going forward, Windows phones will have a dedicated button to allow people to conduct searches using speech. Tellme is best known for its legacy speech-recognition business of answering 411 calls and information lines for other large companies. When Microsoft bought them, it was reaching about 40 million people a month