Next year, Apple will announce vastly improved Mac and iOS dictation capabilities

Last week Nuance announced they’ve stopped selling Dragon Dictate on the Mac. There was no apology, just an announcement. Weird.

Now, it’s never been a good quality product - partly because their development practices have been shoddy and they keep releasing buggy new versions, partly because it’s been hobbled by mac’s limitations - but, for me, it felt like it had finally reached the point where it was useable.

Why did they shut it down, when it’s finally gotten good? Why did they shut it down, when macs are everywhere these days? Why did they shut it down when dictation is supposed to be the way of the future? It makes no sense.

There is one scenario that makes sense: it’s a poorly kept secret that Nuance work closely with Apple, so I reckon they’ve just sold the software to apple and apple is now building it into their operating system.

Whoa - things just got real. Wait until @MacSparky reads this… it’s going down:joy:

But seriously, I don’t think it’s due to anything Apple related that they shut it down.
Or, at least not due to that Apple is getting ready to launch something.

My guess is it could have something to do with changes in macOS concerning 3rd party integration, or perhaps security.

I’m just guessing, of course, but To me it just doesn’t feel Apple’ish if the reason is as you argue🤔

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There are other more plausible scenarios, I’m afraid. Nuance Communications is not merely Dragon Dictation. They have four business segments totaling $1.9 billion last year, in: Healthcare, Mobile, Enterprise, and Imaging. In addition to consumer sales they host cloud-based solutions, offer licensing, and they implement custom solution development services and maintenance and support. Nuance’s product revenues include embedded OEM royalties, traditional perpetual licensing, and term-based licensing.

They’re HUGE in business, far overshadowing consumer sales, of which Mac consumer sales itself are a small part. Nuance makes much more with professional medical transcription and diagnostic services, and are big in mobile text-to-speech and text input (eg when you call a toll-free number) - they leverage speech and AI for enterprise contact centers. And they have a big scan/print/OCR business.

That said, they’ve run net losses for the last 5 years at least, and revenue has been static since 2013 at that $1.9 billion figure. And every year from 2013 through 2017 they lost an average of $110 million/year.

Dragon for Mac is a tiny part of their business, and if they’re trying to put their business on order you don’t need to look beyond their cutting out smaller or unprofitable or time-consuming parts of their business that deflects corporate focus.


Killing off a product is a plausible scenario, but from what you’ve just written, it sounds like cutting a deal with apple, would a great solution for them. And it’d be great for Apple. And for Apple’s customers. Especially when they already have an established relationship with Apple.

Who knows?

If Nuance continues to leverage the IP it built and acquired, which made it preeminent in the market, there’s not a lot of reason to cut a deal unless it’s particularly profitable to them. Obviously, selling to current Apple customers was not. Does Apple think “it’d be great”? Hard to say as well. Apple’s taken a pass on lots of tech that went into competitive products, and never tried to make their own. (Two pointillist examples: Google’s purchase of Word Lens for iOS, which they then folded into Google Translate, and Apple’s decision not to pursue Instagram at the point it was exploding on iOS and had not yet released any non-iOS apps.) As for Apple customers, it’s only ‘great’ for that tiny, tiny percentage of Apple customers who used Dragon, perhaps increasing out to a larger group that might take advantage of it if implemented in the OS (or not)… but doing so would take precious coding talent away from current projects to build and support something that the Siri team is already working on from another direction. So I am afraid it’s hard for me to agree that your scenario is the only one that makes sense.

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