Wozniak says he was wrong about Nuance/Apple deal

NEW YORK Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:25pm EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Retired Apple Inc co-founder Steve Wozniak said he was "totally wrong" in recently suggesting the iPhone maker had bought speech-recognition software maker Nuance Communications Inc.

Nuance's shares had touched a 2-1/2-year high on Tuesday, after TVDeck.com posted a video showing Wozniak saying Apple bought Nuance. Both companies had declined to comment.

"I thought I'd read about it but obviously got it all wrong," Wozniak told Reuters in an e-mail, when asked what he meant.

Deutsche Bank analyst Nandan Amladi said the video appeared to be boosting Nuance's shares even as he dismissed the likelihood of such a deal.

"Nuance licenses its technology to many vendors including competitors to Apple. By acquiring Nuance, its value goes down because its competitors would stop licensing Nuance," he said.

On Monday, Burlington, Massachusetts-based Nuance had posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, helped by strong revenue at its healthcare and mobile units.

After rising as high as $19.19 on Tuesday, Nuance stock later pared some gains to trade 3.5 percent higher at $17.72.

Nuance forecast 2011 revenue above expectations and earnings largely in line.

Avondale Partners said the full-year outlook reflects the current trend of strong demand for the company's products, its mobile design wins and growing acceptance for its mobile technologies.

Gleacher & Co reiterated its "buy" rating on the stock, citing its diversified end-markets, dominant market share position and increasing revenue visibility.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew in New York and Sayantani Ghosh in Bangalore; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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