Nuance Acquires Touch-screen Tech Specialist Swype

According to a Form 8-K dated Oct. 6 and filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Nuance paid $77.5 million to Swype's shareholders at closing, and will pay another $25 million on the 18-month anniversary of the closing.

That $25 million payout is contingent upon whether "certain key executives" don't leave Nuance, according to the filing.

Swype will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Nuance, which has been hungry for acquisitions as of late. Nuance bought four companies between June and August alone: print management and cost recovery vendor Equitrac; speech technology company SVOX; medical transcription services company Webmedx; and speech technology company Loquendo.

At $102.5 million, however, Swype stands as one of Nuance's largest acquisitions in recent years. Swype's technology, which allows users to enter words on a display by sliding a finger or stylus from character to character, relies on an input path analyzer, error-correcting algorithms and a predictive text system. It appears on a number of well-known smartphone models, including the Motorola Cliq, Motorola Atrix 4G, HTC HD2, T-Mobile G2, Samsung Omnia II and HTC Evo 4G.

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Nuance, based in Burlington, Mass., reported about $1.2 billion in revenue for 2010. The company has a strong channel ecosystem for sales of its Dragon speech recognition software, particularly in Nuance Healthcare, which is Nuance's largest business unit and responsible for about half of its overall revenue.