The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has purchased Topsy, one of the leading Twitter search and analytics companies, for more than $200 million.
The WSJ report says that Apple has confirmed the deal but wouldn’t comment more beyond this statement:
Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.
Topsy is about the only decent third-party Twitter search service to have survived, in recent years.
Google had a wonderful service for finding Twitter content called Google Realtime Search that died in 2011, when Google & Twitter failed to renew a deal.
Bing Social, which uses data from Twitter due to an on-going deal with Microsoft and Twitter, isn’t very robust. I’m not sure Bing even remembers the service is still running. Bing, instead, has focused on integrating social results into its main search results.
That’s left little Topsy as the lone survivor. Indeed, Topsy’s access to Twitter’s “firehose” of tweets and focus on providing search results and analytical tools make it even more robust than Twitter’s own Twitter Search, for some queries. In September, it expanded its index to cover every tweet since Twitter began, as our story covers below:
It’s unclear what happens to Topsy now. Will Apple allow it to continue as a standalone service? Will Apple, which recently baked Twitter Search into iOS 7, replace that with Topsy? Will Twitter want to continue giving Topsy what’s likely been a sweetheart deal for firehose access to its data, now that it’s owned by Apple?
If answers to these or other questions and details on the deal emerge, we’ll update.