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Apple has continued its buying spree in 2013 with 10 acquisitions so far and the latest being the social analytics company Topsy for more than $200 million, as WSJ reports. No one seems to be sure why exactly did Apple buy Topsy and what does it plan to do with it, or its other acquisitions too for that matter. However, analysts do suggest that they might use it to improve search in Siri and App Store among other things.
Anyway, turns out Apple wasn’t the only company interested in buying Topsy, Twitter too had considered it. AllThingsD reports that in-fact, Twitter has been considering buying Topsy for the past 6 years. So why didn’t they?
Topsy is a social analytics company and one of the few companies who has access to Twitter Firehose. Unlike the Twitter’s streaming API which pushes “most of the data” as the tweets happens in real time, Firehose guarantees the delivery of the “complete” data as the tweets happen in real time. Firehose is hence also expensive in comparison, and Topsy, as we said before, is one of the few companies who has access to it. Sources close AllThingsD also suggest that sometimes Topsy was in fact more effective than Twitter’s own home grown search tools. All the more reason for Twitter to acquire them. AllThingsD suggested two main reasons:
1. Twitter’s engineering team probably came to a decision that the tools used by Topsy can be built in the house itself. There is no point in buying another firm and acquiring their talent, when the in-house engineers are capable enough.
2. Topsy was reportedly sold for more than $200 million, which is too much to pay for a company, their team and the tools, which Twitter engineers believe they would be capable of building too.
It is possible Twitter may have more reasons than these but the irrefutable fact remains that Twitter is struggling with their Search function which they are constantly trying to improve. They were also recently seen experimenting with their Direct Messaging feature and well as their web user interface. It remains to be seen if Twitter eventually builds its own tool similar to Topsy’s which works just as effectively or will they turn towards perhaps an even small and cheaper startup for it.
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