Ina Fried

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Nuance Buying Vlingo, a Rival It Once Sued

It turns out all those depositions were a form of speed dating.

Speech technology company Nuance, which has been suing Vlingo, said on Tuesday that it is buying the mobile voice-software firm for an undisclosed price.

Of course, now the two firms have nothing but nice things to say about each other.

“Vlingo and Nuance have long shared a similar vision for the power and global proliferation of mobile voice and language understanding,” Vlingo CEO Dave Grannan said in a statement. “As a result of our complementary research and development efforts, our companies are stronger together than alone. Our combined resources afford us the opportunity to better compete, and offer a powerful proposition to customers, partners and developers.”

It wasn’t that long ago that Nuance was asserting that Vlingo’s vision was a little too similar. In August, a jury in one case found that Vlingo did not infringe on Nuance patents. However, Nuance noted at the time that it had other pending actions against Vlingo that it planned to continue pursuing.

Apparently, Apple’s introduction of Siri has convinced the two firms there are bigger fish to fry.

“Inspired by the introduction of services such as Apple’s Siri and our own Dragon Go!, virtually every mobile and consumer electronics company on the planet is looking for ways to integrate natural, conversational voice interactions into their mobile products, applications, and services,” Nuance mobile unit head Mike Thompson said in a statement.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work