Microsoft: It’s Official, We’re Buying TellMe

    March 14, 2007

In a statement today, Microsoft has confirmed its intentions to purchase TellMe, a provider of multiple different types of voice information services. Specific terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed as of yet.

It looks like you can chalk this one up as gossip that actually came to fruition. The last week has been rife with speculation that Microsoft would be purchasing TellMe. It was actually one of the more prominent news pieces until Viacom came along and stole the spotlight by dropping a billion-dollar bomb on YouTube.

TellMe is a service that can help you find local businesses, get driving directions, check sports scores, receive updated stock quotes, weather updates, follow the latest news, check movie show times and so on. All you have to do is call their toll-free number, listen to a couple of ads, and jot down the information you want.

It’s speculated that Microsoft will seek to implement TellMe’s expertise with it’s own Live Search brand, which could create some interesting services in the realm of mobile search technology.

In that line of thinking, these are some of Microsoft’s clearly defined development goals as a result of the purchase:

Unified communications. Tellme’s voice-enabled services and solutions for enterprise customers complement Microsoft’s unified communications voice services portfolio. This will allow customers and industry partners to build highly scalable voice solutions that leverage rich identity, presence, messaging and application integration.

Speech platform. Tellme’s robust voice-enabled platform helps open new doors for Microsoft’s hundreds of thousands of developers and partners to build innovative speech solutions based on open standards.

Mobile services and search. Tellme’s speech expertise and work in mobile search, combined with Microsoft’s innovative local and mobile search offerings, will help take the mobile search usability experience to the next level.

Software plus services. In the long term, Tellme technology will enhance Microsoft’s many voice-enabled applications, including the Windows Vista™ operating system, the Microsoft Office system, and mobile applications such as Windows Mobile® and Windows® Automotive.

“Speech is universal, simple and holds incredible promise as a key interface for computing,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Tellme brings to Microsoft the talent, technology and proven experience in speech that will enable us to deliver a new wave of products and revolutionize human-computer interaction.”

“Tellme was founded with the idea that anyone should be able to simply say what they want and get it from any device, starting with the phone,” said Mike McCue, co-founder and CEO of Tellme. “Now, with Microsoft, we’ll be able to extend that vision to millions of businesses and consumers around the world.”