Microsoft announced today the acquisition of TellMe, a hosted speech applications company. Tellme uses voice recognition to radically simplify how people use the phone to get the information they need every day. Founded in 1999, the company powers billions of calls to hundreds of phone services used by more than 40 million people every month. Some of the applications running on Tellme’s proven voice technologies include business search on 411, information search on 1-800-555-TELL as well as customer service and ordering for companies like Merrill Lynch, E*TRADE and American Airlines.
Om Malik says TellMe is already generating over $100M in revenue from the automated Call Center part of the business, and that Microsoft paid between $800M and $1B for TellMe.
Sorry, I can't say. The numbers will be public soon enough. I can say that VCs pumped about $238M into funding TellMe, so you can infer some valuation from that.
TellMe will be an important piece of the mobile search puzzle. Users will be able to speak queries on their cell phones and get back results in text or speech. This is a huge step forward for mobile search and voice based search.
You might recall that I have been talking about Mobile Search and Local Search as two of the most lucrative search markets still up for grabs. It should be no surprise that Microsoft made this acquisition to go after these markets. Great move!