Enterprise

Microsoft acquires speech recognition firm Nuance for $20 billion

The second most expensive acquisition by Microsoft

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Nuance
Photo by Reuters

Microsoft has acquired speech recognition and healthcare firm Nuance for a whopping US$ 19.7 billion. The deal will give the Redmond-based giant deeper access to hospitals and the healthcare industry, in general, via its medical dictation and transcription tools.

The announcement is a clear indication that Microsoft is looking for new verticals to improve growth. Recently, the company was interested in buying Discord, a gaming-centric instant messaging service, for a massive sum of US$ 10 billion.

Nuance has been a pioneer in voice-based artificial intelligence and was pivotal in powering Apple’s Siri. Since then, it has shifted to healthcare and, specifically, a transcribing tool that writes up the conversations between physicians and patients.

As part of this deal, Microsoft will pay US$ 56 per share for Nuance, a 23 percent premium over the company’s last closing price. Microsoft can use Nuance’s technology with its existing software like Teams or even offer it independently as part of its Azure cloud business. Simultaneously, it can gradually increase the presence of Azure and other connected products within a physician’s clinic.

For the longest time, Microsoft was dependent on the consumer business and relied mostly on Office and Windows for revenue. This has radically changed in the last few years with increased investment in AI, machine learning, and cloud computing.

Microsoft said Nuance CEO Mark Benjamin would remain at the company and report to Scott Guthrie, who is in charge of its cloud and artificial intelligence businesses.

The Nuance acquisition is the second most expensive in Microsoft’s history. The first being LinkedIn’s deal, valued at US$ 26 billion.

Enterprise

Huawei garners more partnerships for HarmonyOS 2

Huawei is paying attention to its consumers

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Nova 8

Huawei continues to struggle with its loss of Google services for mobile devices. On the brighter side of things, the company is striving for development in other departments as well.

Huawei gives the Philippines another affirmation for its commitment to developing an AI ecosystem. The announcement came at the Huawei Development Day 2021. Strategic planning made 96 percent of the local apps available in the App Gallery.

A key move in this development is their partnerships with banking and e-Commerce apps. GCash, KonsultaMD, and WishFM to name a few, are a part of the key roster for their partnerships.

Some of you may know about the strong partnership of Huawei and DICT ( Department of information and Communications). With this partnership dating back to 2018, they came up with the Philippine Startup Challenge (PSC). This is a national startup competition that targets ICT solutions for real-life problems.

Lastly, the company also presented its funding programs regarding app development. They have recently invested US$ 1 Million to their recognized regions for app development. Namely, APAC, Europe, LA, Middle East, and China.

HarmonyOS 2 and Petal Nearby

At the latter part of 2021, HUAWEI will release a new version of HarmonyOS. Because of this, the “One as All, All as One” tagline is born. Easier connections between devices are expected of this update, as HarmonyOS is the operating system of their devices.

At the HDD event, the company claimed to have four breakthroughs:

  1. DecouopledOS and hardware
  2. Sharing capabilities between devices
  3. Smooth and low latency operation
  4. DevEco Studio

To know more about the four, you can watch the Huawei Developer Day 2021 and skip to the 44:39 timestamp for your convenience.

Petal Search is the search app for Huawei, this allows users to search for places and even restaurants as an example. With their latest introduction to its new channel, Petal Nearby. This is present in numerous devices in 170 countries with 50 languages available and 20 different categories.

Petal Nearby is the result of Huawei studying its consumers behaviors and their search trends. It’s a more location optimized service letting users find local businesses and restaurants based on their preferences. The results vary depending on your location. The user can change the city in case for  advanced planning purposes.

Huawei is finding new ways to develop their services for its consumers. The company is doing whatever it can to survive in this competitive industry.

 

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Enterprise

Apple is banning anti-China messages from engravings

In Hong Kong and Taiwan

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Though a relatively small part of their repertoire, one of the more unique services that Apple offers is the ability to engrave their devices with whatever a user desires. Well, almost anything. As it turns out, the company has its limits. And, according to a new report, those limits can be political. Apple is reportedly prohibiting anti-China messages from being engraved in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

According to a research website The Citizen Lab, Apple will not engrave 1,045 keywords in mainland China. However, the company is also banning 542 keywords in Hong Kong and 397 keywords in Taiwan. Apparently, half of those blocked terms are political in nature.

Apple users can’t have any messages related to democracy, human rights, or rebellion. They also can’t engrave any keywords related to the Tiananmen Square and the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong.

The censorship is problematic, of course. Though censorship is par for the course in China, Apple is implementing the same limits to Hong Kong and Taiwan, which have both declared their independence from China.

According to the report, Apple is merely agreeing to China’s demands to maintain a consistent form of revenue from the mainland. Though China is filled with other competitors, the country is still an important part of Apple’s ecosystem.

SEE ALSO: Apple can soon scan your messages for nudity

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Apps

Shopee offers exclusive deals for vaccinated shoppers!

The Shopee initiative is here!

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Online shopping has taken over the quarantine era, no doubt! And now, Shopee is offering exclusive digital deals for fully vaccinated individuals. With the #FullyVaxxed package under Shopee Bayanihan, provides Filipinos with bundles for personal needs. Participating brands include Hygienix, Maxi-Peel, and Skin White just to name a few.

There are more than 15 million doses administered as of the moment, with more than 10 million having their first dose. Uncertainty regarding the efficacy of these vaccines hinder some to take the vaccines. Shopee’s initiative to offer the bundle hopes to encourage unvaccinated Filipinos to take the shot for immunity.

Steps on how to register and get verified:

  1. Sign up on the Shopee Bayanihan: #FullyVaxxed Package microsite.

  2. Submit a photo of the vaccination card to verify the completion of two doses and a valid ID

  3. Wait for the verification from Shopee

Availability

The package will be available until September 26, 2021. To know more about the package, you can click this link here.

 

 

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