Apple buys startup Topsy; gets rich Twitter data

Mon Dec 2, 2013 7:16pm EST
 
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By Poornima Gupta

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc has acquired social media search and analytics startup Topsy, an unusual purchase for a hardware-focused company that has made few forays into social networking.

Apple confirmed the acquisition but would not say why it bought the company, which specializes in analyzing Twitter data and providing insights into current sentiment on a variety of topics.

The Wall Street Journal, which reported the news earlier, cited people familiar with the deal as saying Apple paid over $200 million.

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said.

Topsy did not respond to requests for comment.

The iPad and iPhone maker often does what it calls "bolt-on" acquisitions, small deals to acquire technology that then gets integrated into existing or future products. Many of its acquisitions in recent years have been angled toward improving hardware.

This year, it paid a reported $350 million for Israeli 3D chip developer PrimeSense Ltd, perceived as an effort to incorporate gesture technology into its devices. And in 2008, it paid a reported $280 million for a semiconductor designer that eventually yielded the current line of processors that power the iPhone and iPad.

Apple's main effort in social media has revolved around Ping, a music-centered social sharing network that was at one point integrated into its iTunes app. The service, which lets users post music tracks they liked to a news feed, didn't catch on and was shut down.   Continued...

 
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook holds up the new iPad Air during an Apple event in San Francisco, California October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith