Voice Services


Feedsee Software : Voice Services : Microsoft aquires Tellme Networks

In 2007, Microsoft acquired Tellme Networks, a provider of voice services for nationwide directory assistance, enterprise customer service, and voice-enabled mobile search. Tellme Networks was a company specializing in voice recognition and instruction technology, and this acquisition played a crucial role in enhancing and building Microsoft's voice services. Both companies believed in 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. Combining Tellme's talented people and expertise in high-volume voice services with Microsoft's platform, resources and worldwide customer reach inspired new and innovative solutions.

Tellme was a leader in voice services for the phone, including its popular mobile search services. The company answered millions of calls every day for information such as finding local businesses, driving directions, sports scores, stock quotes, weather, news, and movie show times. Businesses used its voice services and platform to provide customers with voice-access services ranging from banking to package tracking. These services were built on a voice platform that analyzed caller requests to continually improve the system's accuracy and overall caller experience.

Post acquisition, Microsoft integrated Tellme's voice recognition technology across multiple platforms, products and services. Here are a few key ways Microsoft used Tellme's technology:

  • Windows Phone: One of the more noticeable integrations of Tellme's technology was in the Windows Phone operating system. Users could make calls, search the web, send texts, and open applications using voice commands, a significant enhancement to the smartphone user experience.
  • Bing Mobile: Bing, Microsoft's search engine, also leveraged Tellme's technology for voice search capabilities on mobile devices.
  • Automotive Systems: Microsoft used Tellme's voice technology in their automobile infotainment systems, allowing drivers to control different elements of their car's systems hands-free.
  • Customer Service: Microsoft used the voice recognition technology to improve their customer service platforms. Users could navigate menus and get assistance using voice commands, making the process more efficient.
  • Kinect for Xbox: Tellme's voice and speech recognition technology was also integrated into Microsoft's Kinect accessory for Xbox, allowing users to control their gaming consoles using voice commands.
  • Cortana: The development of Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant, was also influenced by the voice recognition technology acquired from Tellme Networks. Cortana allows users to set reminders, recognize natural voice commands, answer questions, and more, and it's integrated across Microsoft's product line, from Windows 10 to Office 365.
  • Through these integrations and developments, the acquisition of Tellme Networks greatly enhanced Microsoft's capabilities in voice recognition and instruction technology, allowing them to provide improved and innovative services across their product line.