Apple Pays $200 Million for Topsy

Apple Pays $200 Million for Topsy

Apple Inc. has acquired Topsy Labs Inc., a company that specializes in Twitter search, monitoring and analytics. The deal is worth about $200 million, media sources are reporting.

For those unfamiliar with the Topsy site, it is a resource allowing users to slice and dice all tweets dating back to the very beginning in 2006.

On the site, users can sort through the estimated 500 million or so tweets made a day in a variety of ways.

Search, Analytics and Trends

Topsy’s data collection is basically divided into three categories:


By searching for a particular term or group of terms you can see the number of times it has occurred on Twitter over the past hour, day, seven days, 12 days or 30 days. You can also ask Topsy the number of all time mentions for a term. Then specify whether you are looking for the term in a link, tweet, photo or video. Or ask whether it was mentioned by a user considered to be an influencer.


By entering up to three terms (brand names would be one example) you can determine comparatively how mentions of these terms have compared over the past month. If you choose Coke, Pepsi and Starbucks, for example (pictured above), you’ll see how popular each term was with Twitter users recently.


You can also discover whether specific terms are trending with a large number of Twitter users. Simply enter your term in the social trends section. Then select the top 100, 1,000, 5,000 or 20,000 mentions. You can again select the kind of content you are seeking in tweets on the topic.

In this video overview, Topsy co-founder and chief scientist Rishab Aiyer Ghosh explains how Topsy sorts data results:

Apple’s Plans Remain Undefined

Apple has not been specific about its plans for the Topsy purchase. However, The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the sale, has speculated. The analytics company’s technology will likely be incorporated into the company’s products.

The service could be used to:

  • Help Apple recommend top trending TV shows, songs and movies to iTune customers.
  • Enhance the functionality of Siri, the virtual assistant built into Apple’s mobile operating system for the iPhone.
  • Provide more data for companies running campaigns with iAd, which sells ads in apps run on the iPhone, iPad and iPod.

In general, Topsy could help Apple better monitor social conversations about all its products.

Bottom line: More data can benefit any company big or small, and analytics tools like Topsy can help companies make sense of conversations already going on in social media.

Image: Topsy


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.

6 Reactions
  1. Hi Shawn,

    Thank you for such an informative article! I was not aware that Apple bought Topsy. The amount spend is humongous. Lets see what Apple does with Twitter insights.

  2. I find the action kind of weird. I kept on asking “Why?” for some reason.

    Let’s get real. What can a gadget company do with a social media analytics company? Integrate it into their devices? No. I think that’s way too blatant and too simplistic.

    I am excited to see what they will come up with. I am sure they have a plan if they are willing to spend a lot of money just to buy such a company.

  3. I see companies doing a lot of buying lately, or attempting to, or is it that it’s being reported more?

    Anyway, good luck to Apple and congrats to the former owner who’s now millions of times richer.

    I’m curious: what happens to the staff when there’s a buyout? Will Topsy staff lose their jobs or will Apple automatically become their employer?

  4. Shawn,

    Apple embraces big data and I agree with you – I think the strategic acquisition is to give more power to Siri and iAd – and identifying what the consumers really want.

  5. Will Apple enter the micro-blogging scene? Why didn’t Twitter acquire Topsy? It will be interesting to follow and see how Apple could use the data that Topsy is mining from the Twitter feed.

    • Martin, who knows, maybe Twitter was interested in Topsy, but Apple won out in terms of how much was being offered. Or maybe Twitter already has similar capabilities to Topsy so didn’t think it worth acquiring.