18/08/2011

Ofcom fines TalkTalk and Tiscali £3m

Ofcom has fined TalkTalk and Tiscali £3m each for mis-billing customers after they had been previously warned to get their systems in order.

Between 1 January and 1 November 2010 the companies billed 62,000 customers for services they did not received. They were then warned to fix their systems by December but billed another 3,000 customer between December and March.

TalkTalk and Tiscali have already paid £2.5m in compensation to customers for refunds and good-will payments.

Ofcom showing biting - or just publicly showing they have some teeth?

16/08/2011

Nuance buys Loquendo

Nuance who are buying up everyone involved in text-to-speech (TTS) and speech-to-text (STT) have just purchased Loquendo from Telecom Italia for $75m.

Many TTS companies have evolved out of telecoms companies as they have had to had speech engines in their telecoms switches to announce to users call issues etc and even services such as the speaking clock - which in some countries are completely automatic. Efficient natural sounding computer generated speech is difficult to achieve and Loquendo have been leaders in this area in Europe (anyone using a TomTom device will be familiar with a Loquendo speech engine).

This adds to Nuance's already large portfolio of TTS products.

Nuance were also famous for purchasing Spinvox (for around £64m) the Marlow based company that converted voicemails into text messages, but were the probe of a BBC journalists investigation after it was alleged that voicemails were sent outside the EU in violation of data protection law for manual conversion by agents. Nuance shut the consumer division of Spinvox down to utilise their carrier connections.

Google to buy Motorola Mobility

Google is buying Motorola Mobility their (ex) handset division for $12.5bn in cash, however Mobility also manufactures set-top boxes (and a lot of them) which fits in nicely with Google's TV plans.

The deal should complete in 2012 but there will be a lot of US and EU competition regulations to wade through, so the deal might actually a while to get final approval. Shareholders should be happy as Google paid $40 per share which was a 63% premium (on Friday's closing price).

Google will gain access to a large patent portfolio which may help them against the threat from other IP holders such as Microsoft and Apple, though it's unlikely to do much for the fight against Oracle and their Java legal issues.

Motorola are one of the major Android licensees and Google expect to keep them at arms length in terms of Android development. It's likely that Google will sell all or part of the division in the future - so a cash deal means it's easy to chop off the divisions without their being any legacy tie-ins to Google.

Google's Nexus One was manufactured by HTC, the Nexus S by Samsung, this deal probably means the next Nexus will be a Motorola unit.