Apple today purchased social analytics startup Topsy. Topsy, which Apple acquired for $200 million USD, has multiple purposes, including being a partner with Twitter to maintain the Twitter database. Additionally, the company also has products that are designed to analyze social networks, which includes Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Apple had the following to say:
Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.
It seems unlikely that Apple is specifically interested in this company for its partnership with Twitter, though it could be part of a bigger play. Having access to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+’s data could make various improvements across Apple’s platforms. Siri could become more personalized and intelligent, App Store search could become more accurate, and even product support could be improved with this data set, and especially the tools to generate meaning from it.
Since Apple has been historically bad at this, it makes sense that they would want to purchase a company that has expertise in this particular field.