Apple Buys Twitter Analytics Startup Topsy

Earlier this week we heard that Apple has gone on yet another shopping spree, and this time the tech giant seems to be targeting an entirely different market. This deal made Topsy (a Twitter Analytics startup) $200M richer and can potentially teach Apple a lesson in big data, something that Google has been mastering for years. Although both Topsy and Twitter have refused to make any comments, the news was finally confirmed by a spokeswoman.

Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,

About Topsy

Topsy is a Twitter analytics tool that can decipher how often a term is twitted and influential people on specific topics. The analytics startup is amongst the very few Twitter partners who can access the full stream of daily tweets, all 500 million of them. Of course this comes at a cost for Topsy, because end of the day Twitter has bills to pay too. Topsy acts as a reseller and provides the collected and analysed information in an easy to use API to other companies interested in the stats. Deciphering 500 million tweets and distributing them is much much harder than you might think and it requires serious infrastructure and engineers to keep up such operation.

Why The Acquisition?

We have reached a point in our technological lives, that we no longer want to mix and match individual products from different companies/startups. We are very unlikely to use Google Calendar, then jump over to Yahoo to check the mail and then log in to SkyDrive to upload a few pictures. The truth is we want the tech giants to host all those products under one umbrella. Here’s what Apple might be trying to do with Topsy.

Big Data

With the release of Android OS, Google immediately became an Apple competitor. Apple has long praised itself on great products that “just work”. These products are obsessively designed with perfection in mind and a user interface/experience that’s second to none. After years of experimenting, Google has finally managed to teach itself good design sense. Call me crazy, but I don’t think Apple is happy about that. Google has the infrastructure and the products already in place, all it needs to do is improve it UI/UX and it will be a legitimate thread to fruit company. So if Google starts becoming better at design, it’s only natural for Apple for feel like it needs to become better at big data and social networking.

Better Analytics

Apple already has a wide range of applications in place that can take immediate advantage of Topsy’s topnotch technology. For example the advanced algorithm can be used to recommend movies, musics and apps that are tailored to your needs/likes and help advertisers display more targeted ads using the iAd service. But that’s just the start, Apple may have bigger plans to integrate the technology deep within services such as iRadio and Siri to collect and analyse data more easily.

Social Networking

Apple had a stab at social networking with Ping, the iTunes service that tried to connect artists with their fans. Although it had tremendous potential, it was executed very poorly and would have never taken off it users weren’t stuck with it with a standard iTunes installation. With Google+ beaming increasingly popular and Facebook speaking of wanting in on the smartphone game, it’s no wonder Apple would want a piece of the social cake.


It’s wonderful to see big companies competing this hard to keep their places in the race. Although this was a very expensive purchase, I’m sure once implemented properly Apple will be able to measure precisely  how much Topsy has brought to the table (Get it? cause now they have the analytical technology). It will be at least a year or two before we start seeing traces of Topsy in our daily Apple consumer products, regardless it will be an interesting development to see the tech giant having another stab at social networking and getting better with big data.