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eCopy cuts jobs, doesn’t give number
Thursday, 12 November 2009 00:00

About a month after buying Nashua software firm eCopy, Nuance Communications has laid off a portion of the staff, but it won’t say exactly how many jobs were cut.

Richard Mack, vice president of corporate communications, confirmed that there were layoffs last week, saying that less than one-third of the staff was affected. Any layoff larger than that would have triggered the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, requiring the company to provide advance notice of a mass layoff.

Before the layoffs, eCopy had about 220 employees between two offices along Spit Brook Road in south Nashua, meaning the layoff could have affected close to 75 people. It’s unclear whether both offices will remain open.

Some of the jobs will be transferred to Budapest, Hungary, where Nuance has a research and development facility, Mack said.

Nuance, a speech recognition software company headquartered in Burlington, Mass., bought eCopy for $54 million in a stock deal that was finalized Sept. 30. The sale was announced in early October. This is at least the 32nd business acquisition in seven years for Nuance, which has more than 6,000 employees at 30 offices worldwide.

ECopy, founded in Nashua in 1992, sells software to help businesses convert paper documents into electronic files. The company’s strength in the market has been partnering with companies like Canon and Xerox to install the technology into copy machines, most of which are sold to large corporations. Nuance has a similar line of business that caters to individual desktop users, but is largely operated out of Budapest.

Nuance has a broad international presence, with more than half of the workforce located outside of the U.S.

Mack said some of the affected employees will remain with the company for several months during the transition period, while other layoffs were immediate. All employees will receive a severance package and help finding new work, he said.

“We take these things seriously and we recognize that it’s people impacted by the layoffs,” Mack said.

Nuance has grown from a small company to a global powerhouse in the last decade largely through mergers and acquisitions. The company routinely buys its competitors and trims excess staff or duplicate positions, a practice that’s fairly common when one company buys another.

Formerly called ScanSoft, the company acquired its current name through the 2005 acquisition of rival Nuance Communications for $224 million.

The average consumer runs into Nuance products all the time. The company developed T9 Text Input for cell phones, which predicts words in text messages. The company also makes voice recognition software used in automated phone systems of major companies like Bank of America, United Airlines and Wells Fargo.

ECopy got its start in the early 1990s with founder Edward Schmid and a handful of employees working out of his condominium. The company now sells its products around the world. ECopy was originally called Simplify Development Corp., but the name was changed in 2000.

Nuance plans to continue marketing products under the eCopy brand name.

 

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