Say What? Nuance Buys Jott for Speech Recognition Service

logoNuance Communications, a provider of various speech recognition and predictive text products, said today it’s purchased Jott, whose service translates spoken messages into text and then emails or inserts them into various web services, for an undisclosed sum. As part of the deal, John Pollard, co-founder and CEO of Jott, will become a general manager in Nuance’s mobile division. Jott had previously raised $5.4 million from Bain Capital, Ackerley Partners, Draper Richards and Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom’s investment firm.

I started using Jott back in 2007, when it was a free service. I loved it. Apparently I wasn’t alone with my adoration, as it made what appeared to be a seamless and successful transition to a paid service in 2008, charging between $3.95 and $12.95  for a monthly subscription. Jott also has a Salesforce.com integration that allows mobile Salesforce users — a key market for Nuance — to call in and dictate information to the customer relationship management program.

Neither Pollard nor Michael Thompson, senior vice president and general manager at Nuance, would provide any user data or revenue figures for Jott. As to why Nuance decided to buy Jott rather than build its own, competing service, Thompson pointed to the fact that Jott had figured out how to successfully integrate its product into a variety of web services.

As people become more mobile, voice recognition services are increasingly being used by businesses and consumers eager to input information onto mobile phones or to maximize their time. For example, I use a program called vlingo to send urgent texts or emails while driving (for more on this topic check out the analysis over at GigaOM Pro on voice recognition technology and mobile use). Once the king of expensive dictation software for the medical community and customer service agents, Nuance is defending its speech recognition turf against Google and Microsoft, both of which are making inroads into voice recognition technology.

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