Microsoft is about to secure unconditional EU antitrust approval for its US$16 billion bid for artificial intelligence and speech technology company Nuance Communications, according to Reuters. 

This latest tech deal is actually Microsoft’s second-biggest after its US$26.2 billion LinkedIn purchase in 2016, following heightened regulatory scrutiny of “killer acquisitions”. Whereby tech giants buy and shut down nascent start-ups and potential rivals.

What Microsoft announced was the Nuance deal, which will boost its presence in cloud services for healthcare, has already received regulatory approval in the United States and Australia, without remedies given.

Known for its pioneering speech technology and helping launch Apple’s Siri virtual assistant, Nuance serves 77% of US hospitals.

The European Commission, which is scheduled to decide on Microsoft’s proposed Nuance purchase by December 21, declined to comment.

Microsoft has been in preliminary discussions with Britain’s CMA antitrust agency ahead of a formal request for approval of the Nuance deal. The request is expected to be filed in January.

What we know is that The European Commission asked customers and competitors to list concerns about the deal, such as whether Microsoft could favor Nuance over its competitors. The outreach was thought to be extremely extensive.

Tech companies have ramped up acquisitions of AI-focused firms to try to stay ahead of competitors as more integrate this technology into their products and services.

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