For months now, there has been speculation that Apple has been in negotiations to purchase Nuance, the makers of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, the voice recognition software that we sell, use and love here at American Dictation.

Rumors have been swirling since Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s premature (and later retracted) announcement of the deal in November of last year.  Those rumors and appear to be gaining traction.

Certainly Apple has the cash reserves to to absorb Nuance (reported market value in excess of 6 billion), but does an outright acquisition make sense?

Last year, Apple took over Siri, Inc, a company that markets a “virtual assistant” app on iOS devices, whereby a user can ask the application a question and the application furnishes an answer.  Who provides the speech recognition engine that drives Siri? –  Nuance, of course.  To further the accuracy, usability, and adoption of Siri, a deal with Nuance would appear to be in Apple’s best interest.

A “deal” however could simply mean expanding the licensing of Nuance’s technology for use with iOS, not an outright acquisition.  This approach may make more sense to Apple, whose CEO Steve Jobs is notoriously averse to overpaying.  Nuance, a publicly traded company is near it’s all time high valuation.

What would an acquisition mean for the Medical, Legal and Professional Market?  Hopefully a more developed Dragon for use with Apple computers.  Since Nuance’s acquisition of MacSpeech, we have seen improvements  on the consumer end, with Dragon Dictate for Mac, but so far, nothing for MacSpeech Medical or Legal.

Using speech recognition on a Mac has never been as seamless or intuitive as on a PC.  With many in the medical field migrating to Apple’s products for their simplicity and reliability, any deal that would bridge the gap between the technologies would be a welcome addition to be sure.

For now, however, we must let the rumors swirl, and wait patiently with the rest of the industry for the slow dance of the industry giants to come to an end, and make a public announcement.

American Dictation Corp. is a national leader in conference recording, dictation, transcription and speech recognition technologies.