MSFT Confirms Tellme Acquistion

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Here’s the release. Here are my previous posts on Tellme and mobile local search. Bringing more usability to mobile search in particular — and differentiation to MSFT — is a key to this acquisition.

But it remains strange because MSFT has considerable speech processing assets and conceivably could have built everything that Tellme is bringing to the table itself. But the company must’ve felt that at least from a consumer perspective Tellme was stronger or farther along.

Mobile search, though increasingly competitive, is still relatively wide open. He (or she) who has the best user experience will win the consumer and later the advertising dollar. Speech is certainly not infallible, but Tellme is doing it as well or better than anyone out there. And the company’s Tellme by Mobile is a working version of a “voice in, display out” model that offers the potentially best mobile search user experience today.

Other services such as 877-520-Find (unconfirmed Google DA service) and 1-800-Free-411 (Jingle) have voice in/text out capabilities too. This is probably the mass-market mobile search model, more than search on a WAP browser. But presumably MSFT wants to voice-enable all mobile applications including Live Search for mobile.


Even though Tellme’s enterprise business is lucrative, Microsoft’s Don Dodge posts that mobile search is the basis for the acquisition.

The Kelsey Group was pre-briefed on the acquisition and has some interesting speculation about the implications. I’ll be talking to Microsoft shortly.

Here’s the short WSJ article on the acquisition. There’ll be a “day two” story later tonight or tomorrow.

2 Responses to “MSFT Confirms Tellme Acquistion”

  1. Understanding Google Maps & Yahoo Local Search » Your mobile phone meets the ether Says:

    […] Microsoft acquires TellMe. I have been a big fan of 877-502-Find as a safe and productive tool for cell phone calling. It demonstrates effectively how voice (even though frustrating 10% of time) can move local search data easily into the mobile world. It avoids the DWT (driving while typing) offense that seems likely to kill people and is less frustrating than talking to directory assistance in a foreign country. The TellMe acquisition will put this type of service on the front burner as Google, Microsoft and others compete for the next generation of mobile search. […]

  2. HELM, WHM/cPanel, Windows, Linux and SEO Blog » Blog Archive » Sprint And Microsoft Extend Mobile Partnership, Offer New Services Says:

    […] mobile search and a rich client download (voice local search) powered by Tellme. Microsoft acquired Tellme in March of this […]

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