EU OKs Microsoft’s $19.7B Deal to Buy Telemedicine Tech Firm Nuance

Microsoft - Nuance

The European Union has cleared Microsoft’s buy of Nuance, an artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing company, according to a Wednesday (Dec. 22) press release from the European Commission, which found the acquisition doesn’t pose competition concerns in the EU.

“Based on its market investigation, 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 release stated.

The $19.7 billion purchase is one of the biggest buys in the telemedicine sector, Macau Business reported. Nuance’s technology is used in three-quarters of U.S. hospitals. Microsoft and Nuance have collaborated in telehealth since 2019.

The deal comes as the potential biggest Microsoft deal after Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $27 billion in 2016. The tech giant said the buy represents the newest step in its “industry-specific cloud strategy,” per the report.

Earlier this month, reports stated that the competition bureau with the European Commission was likely to ask customers and competitors of the Microsoft and Nuance to complete questionnaires about the deal, including voicing concerns.

Read more: $16B Microsoft/Nuance Deal to Get EU Approval

Microsoft’s buy comes as the EU is looking into preparing new rules to put stricter limits on the ability of Big Tech companies to buy out rivals.

In April, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery and is a pioneer in the real-world application of enterprise AI.”

The deal is expected to benefit Microsoft’s position in healthcare and AI, but there could be another factor at work.

Nuance has traditionally made a deal with customers to use their data to improve its voice recognition technology. Former Nuance employees said this could explain Microsoft’s interest in the smaller company, as larger cloud vendors typically can’t get access to customer data for research purposes.