Talking tech since 2003

Only two weeks after news broke that Apple had bought 3D tracking company PrimeSense, it seems the Cupertino giant isn’t done yet. A post on the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has purchased Topsy Labs, LLC, a Twitter partner that analyzes and sells data mined from the social networking service.

The acquisition for Topsy cost Apple more than $200 million, according to “people familiar with the matter,” says the post. What they didn’t reveal is why Apple bought Topsy at all. Fortunately, Apple’s spokesperson offered an illuminating comment to explain why the company was acquired:

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Oh, wait. Did I say “illuminating”? I meant the exact opposite. In fact, that’s identical to the statement Apple released regarding their confirmation of the PrimeSense acquisition. So that’s fun.

The post speculates that the acquisition could be part of an effort on Apple’s part to beef up its ad-selling power on iTunes, helping to better connect advertisers with listeners. The post also floats notion that Topsy might go the other way and let listeners know about artists or songs that are trending on Twitter. Though, I suppose just looking at Twitter might do the trick there…but what do I know?

In truth, there’s really no way for us to know just what Apple has in store for Topsy. Apple already makes the trendiest toys in town, so it isn’t as though the company needs a leg up in getting its products featured in Twitter or understanding the power of marketing. Chances are good that the aforementioned attempts to bolster its ability to sell advertisements is the name of the game here. There’s no question that Apple’s audience is strong in terms of buying power and taste-making. Simply having an advertisement on iTunes Radio is a good way to find the people advertisers are looking for. But Topsy could help Apple find a way to sell targeted spots to advertisers, which could in turn help advertisers see a better return on their investment, and help everyone make more cash.

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