Apple Shutters Its Topsy Social Analytics Business

Topsy was acquired by Apple two years ago and was quietly closed down on Dec. 15, according to a tweet from the company.

Apple, Topsy, social media analytics, acquisitions, Twitter, customers, enterprises

Apple has shut down its Topsy social media analytics operations just two years after acquiring the San Francisco-based company for $200 million in December 2013.

"We've searched our last tweet," the company posted Dec. 15 on its Twitter account, announcing its closure.

Topsy, which began operations in 2006, described itself on its corporate blog as "operating the world's only index of the public social Web," according to an earlier eWEEK story. Topsy was used by global marketing, news, entertainment and financial organizations to obtain real-time insights into a wide variety of business questions—everything from spotting breaking news and identifying customer satisfaction issues to gauging response to television programming and understanding political sentiment.

Topsy was built around the idea of real-time parsing of huge data sets with online tools that analyzed data from Twitter feeds and other sources to track consumer commentary and feedback for enterprises. It could be used to determine how often a specific term was tweeted or retweeted and how the term was used, to identify an influential person on a specific subject, or to measure the exposure of an advertising event or campaign. The Topsy tools also provided reports on how new products were being received by consumers and what people were telling their friends about various topics.

The company's business services allowed its customers to tap into a huge archive of more than 425 billion tweets since 2006.

Topsy, which was one of Twitter's early certified partners, had filed for more than a dozen patents related to social networks, including systems and methods for prediction-based crawling of social media networks and systems, and methods for customized filtering and analysis of social media content collected over social networks.

Like other companies, Apple certainly has bought businesses before and then shuttered them after a short time.

In September, Apple announced the shutdown of its HopStop public transit and mapping app that it bought in 2013 as it moved to integrate transit and mapping services for customers in its latest iOS 9 operating system, which was released that month. That closure, which was completed in October, was posted on the HopStop Website with a banner describing the shutdown.

Apple has been struggling with mobile mapping services in the last several years, especially compared with Google Maps and its offerings. In May, Apple announced that it would finally be bringing transit mapping services to its iPhones and iPads by the time it released iOS 9, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The rollout will be slow, however, with transit directions for only six cities around the world to start. Expected to be included in the first round are New York, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Paris and Berlin, according to reports. Some cities in China could also be included.

At the same time as the Topsy shutdown, Apple continues to be on a buying spree.

In November, Apple confirmed that it had acquired motion-capture technology startup Faceshift, which builds applications that capture human facial expressions as animated avatars or characters, earlier in the year. The company's technology was used in the making of earlier Star Wars movies. In addition, Faceshift has worked with Intel and Pepsi on previous marketing campaigns that used the company's motion-capture technology. The terms and price of the deal were not announced.

In October, Apple bought Perceptio, an artificial intelligence startup that works on ideas that could be integrated into future iPhones. Perceptio's technology helps smartphone owners more easily organize and store photos on their iPhones, making them easier to find and use. The price of the acquisition and terms of the deal were not announced.

In September, Apple reportedly acquired Mapsense, a mapping visualization startup, for $25 million to $30 million to bolster its mapping assets as it continues to develop better map tools in iOS 9 and other Apple products, according to an earlier eWEEK story.

In May, Apple acquired Coherent Navigation, a Silicon Valley startup that has been using the Iridium satellite network to develop a commercial, high-precision navigation service for a wide range of industries. The price of that deal was not revealed.

In April, Apple paid about $20 million to acquire LinX Computational Imaging, an Israel-based company that focuses on designing and selling tiny cameras for use in mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, according to an earlier eWEEK report.