Tellme All About It

9:00 AM -- Expect to hear a lot about voice recognition technology during the next few days as talk emerges, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is about to buy Tellme Networks Inc. for $800 million, or even more.

The idea is that Microsoft would integrate Tellme's voice recognition technology, already widely used by U.S. carriers such as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) for directory assistance services, into its communications platforms, enabling people to submit vocal requests for information. (See MySQL Targets Telecom.)

For example, people could make voice-based information search requests from their mobile phones. You know, "What's the weather going to be like in Anchorage today?"

Then a Microsoft server would deliver the answer. ("Cold.")

I hope the technology has progressed since I last tried out a voice recognition tool, when a sentence such as "George Bush needs his head examined," could quite easily have been interpreted as "Your tush needs its bed examined." But what fun!

And should Microsoft make the anticipated announcement, let's see what happens to the share price of long-standing voice recognition specialist Nuance Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NUAN), which closed Monday at $14.02.

— Ray Le Maistre, Meteorological Editor, Light Reading

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