Apple buys social analytics startup Topsy

SAN FRANCISCO Mon Dec 2, 2013 5:47pm EST

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook holds up the new iPad Air during an Apple event in San Francisco, California October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook holds up the new iPad Air during an Apple event in San Francisco, California October 22, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc has acquired social media search and analytics startup Topsy, an unusual purchase for a hardware-focused company that has made few forays into social networking.

Apple confirmed the acquisition but would not say why it bought the company, which specializes in analyzing Twitter data and providing insights into current sentiment on a variety of topics.

The Wall Street Journal, which reported the news earlier, cited people familiar with the deal as saying Apple forked over more than $200 million.

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said.

Topsy did not respond to requests for comment.

The iPad and iPhone maker often does what it calls "bolt-on" acquisitions, small deals to acquire technology that then gets integrated into existing or future products.

Apple's main effort in social media has revolved around Ping, a music-centered social sharing network that was at one point integrated into its iTunes app. The service, which lets users post music tracks they liked to a newsfeed, didn't catch on and was shut down.

But the California gadget maker has been increasingly making it easier for people to share photos, videos and news through its devices and directly to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

It also operates iTunes Radio, an online streaming music service that competes with Pandora and could benefit from Topsy's data on consumer sentiment.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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