has been acquired by Nuance. Click here to learn about the new Dragon Assistant.

Nuance completes acquisition of Vlingo

Hi Vlingo Fans,

It’s official – today we close one chapter for Vlingo and begin a new and exciting one with Nuance.  We announced back in December Nuance’s intention to acquire Vlingo, and we’re pleased to announce that the acquisition is official and closed.

And while we look ahead, it’s also natural to reminisce.  After all, Nuance saw in Vlingo innovation and a spirit that we worked hard to build.

In June 2006, mobile and speech industry veterans, Mike Phillips and John Nguyen had a vision to create a breakthrough in mobile user interfaces through Automatic Speech Recognition.   Already capable of everything from surfing the web to email to social networking and e-commerce and more, all mobile phones shared one thing in common: they had a constrained user interface. The good news was that all these devices had microphones, so Mike and John had the idea to add voice as the UI. To turn this vision into reality, Mike and John formed a team of highly skilled and talented engineers to develop the technology.

Recognizing the need for natural voice input, Vlingo wanted to design its applications so that users did not have to change how they spoke or memorize a list of commands.  For years, many thought voice as a UI was impossible.   But the Vlingo team worked to solve this problem using the power of the web and cloud computing to move speech recognition off of the device and into the cloud.   This solution would allow Vlingo users to say what they want, how they want enabling them to stay connected with the people, businesses, and activities that are important to them.

On August 21, 2007, Vlingo launched its first voice virtual assistant beta product, unlocking access to more content on mobile phones. Within just a few years, Vlingo quickly became a leader in voice virtual assistant functionality.  In April 2008, Yahoo! chose Vlingo to power their oneSearchTM with voice application.  Shortly thereafter, Vlingo launched its own consumer applications for BlackBerry, iPhone, Nokia S60 and Android users. In 2010, Samsung partnered with Vlingo to power Voice Talk on its flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy SII. Combined with the addition of our partnerships with RIM, Nokia, and AT&T, and others, we supported tens of millions of people worldwide using Vlingo’s virtual assistant.

And then, as most people who follow this space know, a monumental demand for voice-based virtual assistants exploded in the market last fall with the introduction of Apple’s Siri virtual assistant. In a way only Apple can, they educated an entire market.  As a result, the entire industry has seen explosive, unprecedented demand for intelligent, mobile interfaces driven by voice, language understanding and virtual assistant technologies. The market is burgeoning with opportunities not just in mobile, but expanding across autos, tablets, PCs and televisions. By the end of last year it became clear that in the best way to scale to meet this demand and to further accelerate the pace of innovation was to combine forces with Nuance Communications.  In December of last year we announced the acquisition of Vlingo by Nuance.

Today, I’m delighted to announce the acquisition of Vlingo by Nuance has closed. As a combined organization of research & development, resources and talent, we will rapidly be able to advance virtual assistance innovation not just in mobile but across all connected devices.  Together, we will address the diverse needs of our collective customers and partners around the world.

And while the acquisition may be closed, Vlingo users will continue to have uninterrupted service.  In the coming months we will be working to unify the Vlingo and Nuance products.  Both companies share a sentiment that our customer’s interests and loyalty are the keys to success. Our collective goal is to advance our technology and to create industry leading products that not only make users smile, but also make it easy for everyone to tell their friends they should join in on the fun, too!

We are extremely thrilled to join the team at Nuance and look forward to paving the road ahead.   Thank you for your continued support through the years and into the future.

Best,

Dave Grannan
President & CEO, Vlingo