The company confirmed the purchase of topsy to the newspaper on monday, but gave no further details. Topsy evaluates, for example, how popular a certain topic or event is on twitter.
At first glance, this is an unusual acquisition for apple: the iphone company usually buys companies whose products can be incorporated into its devices or services. So the fingerprint recognition in the new iphone 5s is based on an additional purchase. There were also several acquisitions for the in-house card service and chip development. Recently apple bought primesense, a specialist for 3D sensors.
How exactly topsy fits into apple’s offering, however, is unclear for the time being. According to the "wall street journal", the company could benefit, for example, the new music radio or the advertising platform iad. As a specialist for the analysis of large amounts of data, topsy was also able to help determine the buying moods of apple customers more precisely with the help of big data analysis.
Unlike competitors such as google or microsoft, apple has comparatively little proprietary data about its users.
Topsy is also one of the few companies with direct access to the entire flood of twitter messages. The service captures all previously posted tweets and makes them searchable. While apple earned billions with its iphones and ipads, the company has not been very successful in its forays into the social web. Apple’s music network ping was discontinued after about two years.
In the past few years, apple has therefore repeatedly been considered as a possible buyer of twitter. The service has been built directly into the software for apple’s phones and tablets for some time now. A purchase of twitter would have been easy with apple’s money mountain of over 140 billion dollars. But apple never struck, twitter went public and is now worth over 20 billion dollars there. Apple generally shies away from giant acquisitions, preferring to buy highly specialized providers for a few hundred million dollars at a time.