Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) is the de facto leader in voice recognition and speech-to-text software. It has been known for quite some time that Nuance has had its hand in Siri, the voice control software that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has been using for new iPads and new iPhones. The problem is that Apple has for years had a policy of preventing companies from confirming that they are a critical component or technology supplier for Apple's great products. At the All Things D conference called D11, Nuance CEO Paul Ricci confirmed the biggest leaked secret for years.
Ricci said, "We're a fundamental provider for Apple." The D11 conference site also shows that Ricci confirmed what has already been long been suspected because Nuance has such a broad voice recognition software patent.
A full Q& A session can be found here at the D11 site.
What is unfortunate for Nuance is that the stock was recently battered after earnings. In fact, that was bad enough that Nuance's stock price is close enough to a 52-week low again that it has been a wonder that you haven't seen a rekindled buyout rumor mill again in Nuance. In the years past it had been rumored on more than just one occasion that Apple, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), or other tech and electronics providers would be buyers of Nuance if they could get the company at the right price.
Now the maker of Dragon Software is seeing shares up 1.3% on the day but only at $19.61. Its 52-week trading range is $18.00 to $25.89 and shares were never really able to close in on the $30 handle as many investors were hoping. Shares currently trade at about 14-times expected earnings and about 3-times expected sales.
Perhaps the real question is whether or not a buyer would buy Nuance at much of a premium above its $6.2 billion market value today or whether they would only buy the company if the shares became much more affordable.
Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Consumer Electronics, Internet, Technology Tagged: AAPL, featured, MSFT, NUAN