Microsoft is to buy Tellme Networks, which provides voice services for everyday life, including nationwide directory assistance, enterprise customer service and voice-enabled mobile search. 

The two companies see the potential of speech as a way to enable access to information, locate other people and enhance business processes, any time and from any device.
“Speech is universal, simple and holds incredible promise as a key interface for computing,” says Steve Ballmer, CEO 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 revolutionise human-computer interaction.”
Tellme is a leader in voice services for the phone, including mobile search services. Founded in 1999, the privately-held company answers millions of calls every day for information such as finding local businesses, driving directions, sports scores, stock quotes, weather, news, movie show times and more.
Businesses use Tellme’s voice services and platform to provide customers with voice-access services ranging from banking to package tracking. These services are built on Tellme’s voice platform that analyses caller requests to continually improve the system’s accuracy and overall caller experience.
Potential areas of development resulting from the deal will range from hosted voice-enabled customer service solutions that complement Microsoft’s existing unified communications offerings to voice user interfaces in existing Microsoft products to search services on mobile phones that integrate with Live Search for mobile offerings.
In addition, developers and partners will be able to build new speech-based solutions on top of a scalable, standards-based voice-enabled applications platform.
“We’ve made great strides in speech technologies, but have only scratched the surface of what is possible,” says Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division. “The acquisition of Tellme will bolster Microsoft’s existing speech capabilities, bringing both immediate and longer-term value to our customers and partners.”
Mike McCue, co-founder and CEO of Tellme, adds: “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. Now, with Microsoft, we’ll be able to extend that vision to millions of businesses and consumers around the world.”