Report: Apple buys Topsy for at least $200 million, gaining deep access to Twitter

Topsy analyzes social data across the Web, including all of Twitter's stream

Apple has acquired Topsy, a social media analytics company that analyzes a range of data from Twitter, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

Apple paid more than US$200 million for Topsy, the Journal said. The company provides a range of tools to make sense of data across the social Web and use it to divine consumer sentiment. For example, marketers can use Topsy's tools to measure the success of ad campaigns, identify thoughts and opinions over time, and search and analyze hashtags across years of online chatter.

Topsy is one of only several companies with access to Twitter's so-called "firehose" -- the full stream of tweets posted to the service. Other competing companies with access include DataSift and Gnip, which analyze and resell the data to customers, the Journal noted.

Topsy has a huge amount of Twitter data at its fingertips. Earlier this year the company announced that it had indexed Twitter's complete archive of public tweets dating back to 2006. That data could let Apple make better use of online social activity in its product development, as companies such as Facebook do now.

Neither Apple nor Topsy could be immediately reached for comment.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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