This made me think about all the other speech acquisitions, where ScanSoft, or L&H or Nuance have made their mark by gobbling up other companies. I spent a little time after breakfast this weekend researching all the speech companies that have been acquired by Nuance or a previous incarnation throughout the years. I found it very interesting. Hope you do too.
(NOTE: Click on the diagram to see the entire image.)
A couple of notes on the diagram:
- BST stands for Berkley Speech Technologies, and L&H for Lernout & Hauspie.
- The green boxes are where the acquiring company took the acquisition's name. For example, when Visioneer acquired ScanSoft, they renamed the company ScanSoft. Same thing when ScanSoft acquired Nuance--they took the better known name.
- All of L&H's acquisition frenzy ended in L&H being hugely overvalued and going bankrupt. So the "acquisition" by ScanSoft was actually ScanSoft picking through the ashes of the L&H dissolution.
- Fonix as a speech company is still around, and they just announced this year they'll be spinning out Fonix Speech as a separate company to deal with speech in the gaming industry. However, they also briefly had a stint in medical speech, where Fonix acquired Articulate Systems and renamed that brand to Fonix HealthCare Solutions Group, which was then almost immediately sold off to L&H.
- Dictaphone started as a company in 1923, but I chose to start the chart at 1971, since it wasn't at all clear when they made the move to start working on speech products.
- The marks are only accurate to the year. When two acquisition arrows are on the same year, the diagram may not show the exact chronological ordering within that year.