Apple Buys Twitter Analytics Firm Topsy for $200M / €147.7M [WSJ]

Topsy uses complicated algorithms to analyze 500 million tweets a day

Apple has reportedly acquired Topsy, a company that analyzes conversations on Twitter keeping an eye out for patterns, specific words, etc. in order to resell this trend-related information to its clients.

“Topsy specializes in analyzing the global conversation on Twitter. Its tools can decipher how often a term is tweeted, find an influential person on a specific subject, or measure the exposure of an event or campaign,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

Apple’s newly-acquired analytics firm is just one of many Twitter Inc. partners with access to the “fire hose,” a term used to refer to the entire stream of daily tweets which now runs in the hundreds of millions (500 million a day).

According to the report, “Topsy then analyzes this information and resells it to customers.”

Industry executives questioned on Apple’s move say such a deal couldn’t have passed through without Twitter itself agreeing to it.

Neither Topsy nor Twitter Inc would comment on the acquisition, but Apple didn’t have a problem confirming it to the press.

A spokeswoman said, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” which is Apple’s standard statement whenever the company doesn’t wish to discuss further details.

Analysts believe Topsy’s knowledge will help build a more robust Siri, but also pave the way for better iTunes Store recommendations. Even iAd might stand to gain from this merger.

Susan Etlinger, an analyst with Altimeter Group, said, “[Apple] could benefit from a more forward looking view of what people's interests are,” adding that “Twitter is optimized for understanding conversations around entertainment.”

Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer, is quoted as saying, “All of these businesses would appreciate having access to more of this real-time data.”

“Now Apple has a new tool to help the companies that use its services become better, smarter marketers.”

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