Title: Topsy Turvy
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The Wall Street Journal reports Apple has purchased Topsy Labs Inc., an analytics company that makes various products made to search and draw data from conversations happening on social media venues like Twitter and Google+. According to the report citing sources familiar with the acquisition, Apple paid around $200 million for the company:
An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the deal but wouldn’t comment further. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” she said without elaborating further.
The report doesn’t provide any specific details on the reason behind the purchase, but it does speculate that Apple could possibly incorporate Topsy’s data from social media into services like iTunes Radio. For example, “to alert listeners to songs that are trending or artists being discussed on Twitter.”
The company has a Social Search tool on its website that indexes tweets from as far back as 2006 and much more, as well as Social Analytics and Social Trends tools on its site for tracking and comparing social media related content, mostly from Twitter. It also advertises an API for developers and a paid Pro service, but the website is currently “not accepting new trials” for the paid service, presumably due to Apple’s purchase of the company.
It’s also a possibility that the real-time data surrounding Twitter and other online social conversations could play a role in Apple’s iAds advertising business that currently powers the free version of iTunes Radio.
Apple has been making a lot of acquisitions lately– many mapping related– with Apple CEO Tim Cook noting at the company’s Q4 earnings call that it’s completed 15 strategic acquisitions this year alone. That’ around one every 3-4 weeks.
Update: The price of the deal might have been a lot more than $200M according to Fortune’s Dan Primack
iPhone 5c Broadens Apple’s Customer Base, but Android Continues to Lead in Smartphones
Research firm Kantar Worldpanel has released a new report (via TechCrunch) highlighting global smartphone sales over the August-October period, finding that Apple’s market share in most regions is unsurprisingly now higher when compared to the months leading up to the release of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. Apple’s share is, however, lower when compared to the prior-year period with the iPhone 5 launch.
Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, comments: “In almost all markets, the iPhone 5S and 5C releases have given iOS a significant bounce compared to the previous month. Generally, Apple’s share of the market still remains lower than when the iPhone 5 was released, although this is not wholly unexpected as shoppers tend to react more positively to ‘full’ releases than incremental improvements such as the 5S and 5C.
Apple’s total market share in the U.S. hit 52.8% during October, with the report attributing the overall growth during the 12-week timeframe to the appeal of the cheaper iPhone 5c and noting that half of all iPhone 5c owners had switched from competiting brands:
“The cheaper 5C appeals to a broader audience than Apple usually attracts. In the US, the biggest demand for these mid-end models is coming from lower income households. Some 42% of iPhone 5C owners earn less than $49,000 compared with just 21% for iPhone 5S. iPhone 5C customers also tend to be slightly older at an average of 38 years compared to 34 years for the 5S. The good news for Apple is that this wider appeal is attracting significant switching from competitors. Almost half of iPhone 5C owners switched from competitor brands, particularly Samsung and LG, compared with 80% of 5S owners who upgraded from a previous iPhone model.”
While the iPhone continues to enjoy strong market share in the U.S., it also continues to face challenges in mainland Europe and China, where Android’s market share is around 70% or even higher in many countries. Apple has, however, had more success in Japan, where the addition of NTT DoCoMo as a carrier partner helped the iPhone garner 76% of the market in October and 61.1% for the broader August-October period.
OS X 10.9 Mavericks Adoption Continues to Grow Steadily
OS X 10.9 Mavericks continues to gain popularity, overtaking previous versions of OS X like Mountain Lion and Lion in November of 2013 according to the newest market share data from Net Applications (via The Next Web). First introduced on October 22, Mavericks is Apple’s newest operating system and the first version of OS X to be released free to consumers.
During the month of November, Mavericks gained 1.58 percentage points, growing from 0.84 percent of total operating system market share to 2.42 percent, while other versions of OS X lost share. OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion dropped 1.48 percentage points to 1.85 percent, while OS X 10.7 Lion dropped 0.22 percentage points to 1.34 percentage points. OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard dropped 0.07 percentage points to 1.53 percent and OS X 10.5 dropped 0.01 percentage points to 0.32 percent.
Though Mavericks market share has continued to grow steadily since its release, overall OS X market share, at 7.56 percent, remains dwarfed by Windows market share, which is at 90.88 percent with Windows 7 being the most popular Windows operating system.
While Net Applications data shows Mavericks gaining ground over its predecessors, data from GoSquared suggests that though Mavericks usage has continued to rise over the course of the last month, it is still lagging behind OS X 10.8 and OS X 10.7. According to the data, Mavericks usage is at nearly 21 percent, compared to 31 percent for 10.8 and 24 percent for 10.7.
The difference between the two measurements is likely due to the number of visitors tracked and the different sites being monitored, but both data points suggest that Apple’s strategy of delivering the update free to all users has worked favorably for the company, encouraging users to upgrade to the latest software.