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Microsoft's cloud boss says the company doesn't want to compete with doctors

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MSFTScott Guthrie, executive vice president of cloud and enterprise at Microsoft Corp., speaks during the Microsoft Developers Build Conference in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Wednesday, May 10, 2017.David Ryder | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Thanks to its pending acquisition of Nuance Communications, Microsoft will soon have a suite of software tools that doctors use to automatically keep notes on meetings with patients. But Microsoft isn’t interested in automating everything doctors do, said Scott Guthrie, the software company’s executive vice president for cloud and artificial intelligence.

The pending acquisition, worth $19.7 billion including debt, is an unusual case of a major technology company drawing from its cash pile to gain relationships in an individual industry. Microsoft’s rivals in the growing cloud computing market have not gone so far. If the move proves successful, Microsoft could convert Nuance customers into big users of Microsoft’s Azure cloud and strengthen its position relative to the market leader, Amazon.

Headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, Nuance is widely known in the U.S. health-care space, but has room to grow overseas. On the day the deal was announced, Microsoft said that 55% of U.S. doctors and 77% of U.S. hospitals use Nuance, and 80% of its revenue came from