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Apple Inc. Is Putting Out Money Rather than Talking

December 03, 2013 | About:


Not so socially minded Apple Inc. (AAPL) has acquired Topsy Labs Inc., a social analytics firm that tracks trending topics on Twitter. The deal, which is reportedly valued at more than $200 million, is expected to help the iPhone-maker gain better insights about social media networks like Twitter Inc. (TWTR). Topsy Labs, one of the biggest partners of Twitter analyzes billions of conversations in real-time that could help companies make better decisions. Just like Google Inc. (GOOG) does for the web, Topsy has indexed every tweet ever sent and made them searchable. Calling itself as “the only full-scale index of the public social web,” Topsy has analyzed all tweets since 2006. It can “instantly analyze any topic, term or hashtag across years of conversations on millions of web sites.”

It should be noted that the acquisition comes approximately three months after Topsy announced a free search engine for tweets.

What Will Apple Do with Topsy?

The news may look quite interesting, but it's strange at the same time. Apple Inc. (AAPL) has not made anything clear as to why the hardware maker wants to get into software analytics. The move, however, signals that that the Cupertino-based technology giant is going to be much more than just selling iPhones and iPads. Rather than selling just the hardware, Apple may want to utilize data in order to sell an overall experience to its customers. And in that case, Topsy brings Apple much closer to the "data" world.

Another theory is that Topsy’s analytics could be useful to enhance the appeal of Apple iAd – an advertising service that enables companies to buy mobile ads across Apple’s range of devices. Topsy's data could also be useful for Apple's iTunes media store as well Siri voice assistant service.

Speculations also suggest that Twitter data could even feed into the highly-rumored Apple TV. It is believed that Apple's live TV may use Twitter as a second-screen for offering live discussions.

Or, it may just turn out to be a "sentiments-analyzing" platform for Apple, wherein it can check and analyze sentiments of its customers on social networks.

Moreover, the acquisition is not just about acquiring the technology but it's also the acquisition of Topsy engineers. With Topsy, Apple Inc. will be bringing in the expertise of engineers practiced in handling massive data sets that could be an asset for any technology company.

Founded in 2007, Topsy Labs Inc. is headquartered at San Francisco, Calif. The company was founded by a former Napster employee Vipul Ved Prakash, Rishab Aiyer Ghosh, Gary Iwatani and Justin Foutts. Topsy has raised over $32 million in venture capital from BlueRun Ventures, Ignition Partners, Founders Fund Management LLC and other investors. It also arranged $3 million in debt from Western Technology Investment LLC. With over 40 employees, Topsy operates its own data centers.

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