Microsoft Acquires Tellme?

On my way into work this morning I saw two things. An amazing sunrise and a flock of geese flying. As far as the sunrise goes, I tried desperately to get my phone to take a picture of it so I could share the beauty of it with my readers. By the time I set up the phone in camera mode the highway twisted and then when the sunrise was in range again a garbage truck blocked my view. Then finally when I had a breathtaking shot the battery on my phone started to. I got to thinking today may not be a very good day to share sunrise photos.
So instead I decided to focus on the geese. You see they were flying south. Now today is March 14th and I am not used to seeing geese fly south so late in the winter. I wonder if the geese are confused.
Perhaps they heard the rumor about Microsoft purchasing TellMe. On the surface this news may seem quite confusing. After all, Tellme has been around since the late nineties and indeed visited TMC offices a few times before the turn of the century. Tellme went from high flying voice portal status to telecom dud almost overnight.
The company’s management did an amazing job refocusing the service from a free portal to a solution used by company’s like AT&T, FedEx and a host of others.
So the confusion about this potential acquisition may come from the fact that Tellme has been in Silicon Valley all these years and Microsoft never acquired them. Why now? What makes this voice portal solution provider an exciting acquisition target today?
The answer lies in two parts. Microsoft’s competition with Google and leveraging TellMe’s mobile search technology allows Microsoft to have a potential advantage in this space. But to be honest Microsoft has its own speech initiatives as well so there is a some deal of overlap in such an acquisition.
Another potential reason for the deal is to bolster Microsoft’s hosting and communications portfolio. SaaS is all the rage these days and Tellme gives Microsoft a platform by which to integrate with their unified communications and CRM offerings. Tellme becomes the ultimate puzzle piece in this scenario allowing Microsoft to compete with Google and provide customers with a well respected SaaS communications service as well.
Remember, Steve Ballmer is hooked on Unified Communications.
Just over a year ago there were rumors circulating regarding Google purchasing Tellme. So as this deal is not officially done, perhaps there is a bidding war taking place behind closed doors for Tellme. Regardless of who wins this battle the future of mobile search will likely be much brighter with all this attention being paid to Tellme. As for those geese – I hope they are reading this story so they can turn around and head home.

  • Onofrio ("Norm") Schillaci
    March 19, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Think you are onto something, think about Google 2.0 and how they can apply their strengths on the web to the phone.
    Changing directory services and yellow pages while taking their evaluation to the next level.

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