Apple’s 2013 Acquisitions Show A Focus On Maps, Chips & Making Data Useful

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When Apple bought Twitter analytics company Topsy for over $200 million earlier this week, many commenters were taking aback. How does Twitter analytics of all things fit into Apple’s general acquisition strategy?

Although they broke the story, it looks like The Wall Street Journal were wondering the same thing themselves. The result is an excellent breakdown of Apple’s major acquisitions in 2013. Unfortunately, it doesn’t shed much light on why Apple bought Topsy, but it does show Cupertino’s areas of interest.

One of these areas of interest is Maps. Following the iOS 6 maps fiasco, Apple has beefed up its mapping acquisitions accordingly. In March, Apple bought WiFiSlam, a mapping company that can track your location indoors. HopStop.com was purchased in July, presumably to offer native transit instructions within Apple maps. Locationary -—a Wikipedia for location — was bought in July, and Embark in August. Apple is clearly serious about making Maps a competitive product.

Another major focus for Apple is semiconductors. Apple wants to beef up the abilities of iPhones, iPads and Macs with new sensors. To that end, Apple has bought a company to help reduce battery life, a company that helps devices manage memory more efficiently, and PrimeSense, the makers behind the original Xbox 360 Kinect system.

So far, then, Apple’s purchase of Topsy seems like something of an anomaly, much like Apple’s August acquisition of Matcha.tv, a company that recommends proprietary video content, or Cue, a company that turns the iPhone’s built-in data into a sort of living, breathing personal assistant. We’ll have to see what Apple intends to do with Topsy. Any guesses?

  • iJustinCabral

    Would be crazy if they used the talent from topsy to build a Siri search engine to compete directly against google.

  • TheMacGuy

    ‘To that end, Apple has bought a company to help reduce battery life,”

    I don’t think this is right.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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