Nuance Buys T9 Text-Input Tool for Mobile Phones
Nuance Communications Inc. has agreed to buy the developer of the T9 predictive text input software for mobile phones from current owner AOL LLC.
Tegic Communications Inc., in Seattle, developed the T9 interface in 1995 to simplify the typing of text messages on mobile phones. Rather than press 9-9-6-6-6-8-8 to spell the word "you," T9 users can type 9-6-8 and let the software predict which word they are trying to spell. T9 software has been embedded in 2.5 billion phones, according to Nuance -- although many of those may now be in landfill.
Nuance plans to integrate Tegic's software with its Nuance Voice Control software, obtained through the acquisition of MobileVoiceControl Inc. in January, it said Thursday.
The voice control interface is intended to simplify text input and menu navigation, and is available for smartphones running operating systems from Microsoft Corp., Palm Inc. and Research In Motion Ltd.
Nuance, in Burlington, Massachusetts, also owns a number of famous names in voice input, including Dictaphone Corp. and the voice-recognition software Dragon Naturally Speaking.
AOL bought Tegic in December 1999, seeing in it a way to simplify and promote instant messaging from mobile phones, but is selling it now in order to focus on its core business, it said.
Nuance will pay around US$265 million in cash and expects the deal to close by the end of September, subject to regulatory approval.