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EU OKs Microsoft’s $19.7B Nuance Purchase

 |  December 22, 2021

A month after the European Commission opened an investigation into Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of transcription software developer Nuance Communications, the EU’s competition bureau determined that the $19.7 billion business combination wouldn’t pose a threat to antitrust regulations and doled out an unconditional all-clear to the transaction.

Regulators began looking into the purchase in November, after the companies submitted their proposal for review. At the time, per Reuters, E.U. authorities sent out questionnaires to clients and competitors of Microsoft and Nuance to ask whether they viewed the two companies as competitors and if they believed the merger would negatively impact their own businesses.

Once the preliminary probe had been launched, officials had until Dec. 21 to either extend the investigation or sign off on the acquisition. They ultimately settled on the latter, noting in a statement on Tuesday that “the commission found that the transaction, as notified, would not significantly reduce competition in the transcription software, cloud services, enterprise communication services, customer relationship management, productivity software and PC operating systems markets.”

The investigation focused on a handful of core concerns. The first of these, according to the statement, was the potential overlap between transcription software offered by both Nuance and Microsoft, though regulators concluded that Nuance’s out-of-the-box products—used largely by hospitals and other healthcare clients—are “very different” from the speech recognition capabilities available to users of Microsoft’s Azure Cognitive Services.