Microsoft becomes even more mobile with Tellme

Microsoft is clearly investing in more mobile technologies by announcing Thursday that they will be purchasing Tellme Networks.  Founded in 1999, Tellme is a provider of voice-enabled services, which include their free service +1 800 555 TELL [8355], as well as customer service and ordering for companies such as Merrill Lynch, E*TRADE, American Airlines, among others.  Tellme has the largest and most reliable VoiceXML platform in the world, providing voice applications for a number of Fortune 500 companies.  In fact they provide automated information [411] service for large carriers such as AT&T and Verizon.  They will even send information via text message from the voice application or by sending an SMS to 83556 [TELLM], for example “pizza san jose”.

Tellme has in fact used Microsoft’s MapPoint technology for their voice guided driving directions.  Although the financial terms have not been disclosed, Tellme will continue to run operations in Mountain View, CA  and executives from the company are expected to join Microsoft.

Microsoft and Tellme share a vision around the potential of speech as a way to enable access to information, locate other people and enhance business processes, any time and from any device. Combining Tellme’s talented people and expertise in high-volume voice services with Microsoft’s platform, resources and worldwide customer reach will inspire new and innovative solutions. “Speech is universal, simple and holds incredible promise as a key interface for computing,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Tellme brings to Microsoft the talent, technology and proven experience in speech that will enable us to deliver a new wave of products and revolutionize human-computer interaction.”

Certainly Microsoft is going to be heavily investing in a wide range of products given Gates’ vision of seamless computing across devices.  With products like Windows Live and MSN Mobile, Live Search mobile, Windows Live “G2” client, Palm Treo running Windows Mobile, upcoming Windows Mobile 6, and now Tellme: Microsoft is really trying to win the mobile market.

For more information, check out the PressPass article, which has audio from the teleconference, as well as the press page on Tellme, which has a number of other news articles [they seem pretty excited about the deal].

@Matthew