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Nuance Buys Swype For 100+ Million

Michael Arrington at uncrunched had the scoop on a pretty big story today as Nuance has purchased, virtual keyboard company, Swype for more than 100 million dollars.

Nuance makes popular voice recognition software that can be found in Android devices like the MyTouch 4G and MyTouch 4G Slide.  The voice recognition in the genius button in those two devices is a Nuance product. Of course these devices were doing voice interaction and recognition technology months before the Tuesday announcement of the iPhone 4S with siri.

More after the break

Nuance also makes the very popular, multi input virtual keyboard, Flex T9.  With Flex T9 an Android user can choose a gesture/Swype style keyboard, graffiti style input (as in Palm graffiti) or speech to text. Although Flex T9 is my keyboard of choice Swype is more popular.

Swype caught the eye of Nokia and Samsung early on. Both cell phone giants were heavily invested in Swype. Back on June 12th Swype announced a $12 million dollar round of financing led by Samsung Ventures and Nokia Growth Partners. Swype comes pre-installed on many Samsung devices and other OEM devices as well.

Swype launched at a TechCrunch conference in 2008 but ended up second place overall behind Yammer. According to Arrington judges were jumping out of their seats to use Swype and it’s still one of Arrington’s favorite apps.  Arrington said that Swype just wasn’t far along enough at the TechCrunch event to actually pull the win.

That’s water under the bridge now that they’re going to put $100 million into the bank.  What’s unclear is whether or not seed investors like Samsung and Nokia will still get first dibs to put the popular keyboard alternative onto their new devices.

source: Uncrunched

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