Nuance Bolsters Automotive Offering with $80M Tweddle Acquisition

Nuance Communications, the voice recognition technology company, is making its second major Seattle-area acquisition, spending $80 million in cash for Tweddle Connect, an in-car content delivery system developed by a unit of Detroit-based Tweddle Group.

Burlington, MA-based Nuance—whose Dragon Drive software already powers most voice control systems in 20 million new cars a year—would bolster its position in third-party automotive applications and content with the acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter.

Nuance purchased Swype, the Seattle maker of text input software, for $102.5 million in 2011.

Tweddle Connect, developed by Bellevue, WA-based Tweddle Group Technologies, powers connected services in Toyota and Lexus vehicles, connecting apps from mobile devices to the vehicles.

Nuance intends to combine the Tweddle technology with Dragon Drive “to provide automakers a single, turn-key solution that offers voice, natural language understanding, dialog management, expressive text-to-speech, in-car connectivity, apps, content and dynamic application user authentication—all integrated as part of one holistic offering.”

Nuance spokesman Richard Mack says about 100 Tweddle employees will join Nuance as a result of the acquisition. “As we work toward the close and integration, we will make determinations on office locations,” he tells Xconomy in an e-mail.

While the Seattle area has several interesting automotive telematics companies—such as INRIX, VoiceBox Technologies, and Microsoft (which uses some Nuance technology)—Nuance’s effort in this field is centered in its Montreal, Quebec, office, and elsewhere.

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