Apple buys Twitter analytics firm for $200 million

A screen shot of Topsy, which has been purchased by Apple.

Apple has purchased Topsy, a Twitter analytics firm, for $200 million.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has acquired the company, which is known for its extensive data of Twitter information. Topsy is capable of tracking what users are saying on Twitter as it happens; it can track how often terms are being tweeted; and earlier this year it indexed every public tweet that has ever been sent -- making it possible for users to see their own first tweets or even the first mention of Justin Bieber on Twitter.

Apple confirmed the acquisition, telling the Journal, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

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It’s unclear why Apple purchased the company, but the tech giant might be looking for ways to get real-time data from users that it can use to improve its products.

The Journal, for instance, speculates that Apple might use Topsy to improve music selection for users of iTunes Radio, a feature launched in September. Topsy could also be used to bolster the data that marketers look at when deciding whether to purchase ads that run on Apple services.

In November, Apple purchased another company, PrimeSense. That company makes motion sensor technology that could someday be used in Apple products.



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