Apple gets into the social analytics game by buying Topsy

It looks like Apple’s wading into digital marketing waters with its latest acquisition, the social media analytics company Topsy.

Topsy made its name as a Twitter analytics tool, with its ability to access and analyze the entire breadth of nearly half-a-million tweets that circulate through the platform everyday. Imagine it as a Google for tweets. Companies used it to observe trending topics and conversations, audience reactions and sentiment analysis. One of our contributors at Global Strategy Group even used Topsy to do an analysis of Twitter activity around the finale of the popular TV show Breaking Bad.

So why does Apple, a company that primarily makes hardware, need a social media analytics tool? Keeping with Apple tradition, their communications team didn’t reveal much. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” said Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman.

But there were a few speculations. Speaking to the New York Times, one analyst said Apple could use Topsy’s search capabilities to make recommendations for music, apps and games for users through its iTunes store. The CEO of Datasift, a Topsy competitor says Apple could use Topsy’s technology to improve the voice search capabilities of Apple’s Siri program.

Either way, this might signal a shift in Apple’s strategy, slowing down its hardware development and investing more in its content and software channels to get an edge over rival Samsung, and go head-to-head with Google.

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