Apple acquires Twitter analytics firm Topsy Labs for $200M

Apple has acquired Topsy Labs, a social media analytics firm. The transaction is valued at more than $200 million, according to the Wall Street Journal (available to subscribers only).

Apple confirmed the purchase but offered no further details about its plans for Topsy - a spokesperson provided a template comment noting that they generally don't discuss their plans for smaller company acquisitions.

The WSJ report speculates that Apple may use the analytics to boost targeted advertising, perhaps for iTunes Radio or Apple's iAd service, which was launched to provide an advertising vehicle for ad-supported iOS apps.

Topsy's specific focus has been in tracking consumer sentiment on the social web by searching for topics, terms and hashtags. Topsy's tech helps users identify breaking news, analyze the efficacy of advertising campaigns and more.

Whatever Apple plans to do with Topsy doesn't appear on its surface to have a lot of direct relationship to any sort of customer-facing product or service that Apple offers, but, as WSJ notes, it certainly sounds like something that can bolster the company's ancillary services like iAd.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Peter Cohen