More on MSFT-Tellme and Mobile Search

The image “https://gesterling.files.wordpress.com/2007/01/tellme1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Notwithstanding Microsoft’s own existing speech assets, the Tellme acquisition appears to be complementary and strategic for Microsoft across the board. There were the four principal areas, identified in the release, that would be pursued or enhanced by the acquisition: unified communications, speech platform, software plus services and mobile services and search.

Indeed, Microsoft wants to put a speech front end on all its applications and on its OS. While this holds some interesting possibilities for search on the desktop and for the desktop itself the real promise from a consumer standpoint is on mobile devices and in the car — or at least that’s what I’d like to focus on for purposes of this post.

In a now widely cited quote from the Wall Street Journal (May 8, 2006), “The Next Tech Battle: Internet Searches on Cellphones,” (sub req’d) Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says, “The leading-edge battleground between us and Google in local search really will come on the phone.”

Although I might dispute this in principle, the sheer fact that there are between 200 and 220 million cellphones in the U.S. and more than 2 billion globally argues there’s a great deal of truth, by default, in Ballmer’s quote.

While mobile search is a complicated issue, mainstream usability remains one of the core barriers to consumer adoption. In addition, data plan costs, network speeds and hardware issues are some of the “moving parts” that need to align to drive adoption. However the Tellme acquisition aims to address some of the core usability questions in an accelerated fashion and put Microsoft at the forefront of mobile search.

The rest of this post is at SEL.

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Related: Here’s Dan Miller’s Opus Research analysis of the larger “speech-enabled mobile search” marketplace and the impact of the Tellme acquisition.

And here’s an interesting piece from CNET on the genesis of the acquisition and voice + mobile search.


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