· machine learning,Microsoft,AI

About a half year ago, Maluuba, the Waterloo (and Montreal)-based NLU company, closed a $9M round. It seems like that was enough to fill up the tank to get to yesterday’s announcement — Microsoft’s acquisition.

In September, I wrote about how it’s a good time to be in NLU. API.AI was acquired then by Google. Maluuba had also been backed by Samsung Ventures (for $2M) in 2012 and it’s likely real revenue was helping keep the company afloat for the past few years. Could Microsoft gobbling a Samsung-backed startup help bring the two companies closer together?

Samsung had acquired Harman, which had released a Cortana-powered speaker. Samsung had also acquired VIV, a personal assistant company from the founders of SRI. Microsoft in the meantime has been perfected STT services, including surpassing human accuracy.

It’s possible that the Maluuba acquisition will help inform Cortona or perhaps be a new service extended through Microsoft Cognitive Services or Bing Speech API? This could offer a way for Microsoft to compete with Google, Nuance, and Amazon.

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