Nuance Communications is an American multinational computer software technology corporation, headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, United States on the outskirts of Boston, that provides speech and imaging applications. Current business products focus on server and embedded speech recognition, telephone call steering systems, automated telephone directory services, medical transcription software and systems, optical character recognition software, and desktop imaging software. The company also maintains a small division which does software and system development for military and government agencies. In October 2011, unconfirmed research suggested that its servers power Apple's iPhone 4S Siri voice recognition application.
As of 2008, the company is a result of organic growth, mergers, and acquisitions. ScanSoft and Nuance merged in October 2005; before the merger, the two companies competed in the commercial large-scale speech application business. The officially termed "merger" was a de facto acquisition of Nuance by ScanSoft, though the combined company changed its name to Nuance following the transaction. Before 1999, ScanSoft was known as Visioneer, a hardware and software scanner company. In 1999, Visioneer bought ScanSoft – a Xerox spin-off – and adopted ScanSoft as the company name. The original ScanSoft had its roots in Kurzweil Computer Products, a software company that developed the first omni-font character recognition system.