Antitrust regulators approve Microsoft’s nearly $20B purchase of Nuance Communications

Antitrust regulators have approved Microsoft’s $19.7 billion acquisition of Nuance Communications, officials announced Tuesday.

The European Commission said it’s granting the approval without any conditions. Commissioners believe the transaction would not significantly reduce competition in the markets for physician transcription technology, cloud storage, enterprise communication, customer relationship management, and productivity software.

“The commission found that Microsoft and Nuance offer very different products,” officials said in a Dec. 21 announcement, adding that Nuance offers mostly “out-of-the box solutions” to end-users while Microsoft sells interfaces as part of its Azure Cognitive Services, which developers can use to integrate speech recognition technology. “Furthermore, the commission considers that the combined entity will continue to face strong competition from other players,” it added later.

Microsoft first announced plans to buy Burlington, Massachusetts-based Nuance in April, hoping to broaden its reach in healthcare and artificial intelligence. Nuance’s technology is currently used by 55% of all physicians in the country, 75% of radiologists, and 77% of all U.S. hospitals. Acquiring the company will double Microsoft’s total addressable market in the healthcare provider space, climbing to nearly $500 billion, officials said at the time.

U.S. antitrust regulators already granted their approval in June. Earlier this month, a Nuance official said they’re on track to finalize the deal in early 2022.

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