Apple Buys Twitter Trends Tool Topsy Labs
Topsy Labs has been bought by Apple in a deal that will provide the iPhone maker with more insights about the chatter on Twitter.
The San Francisco-based startup's analytic tool pores through the stream of conversations on the social network to identify trends and people influencing public opinion.
It also runs a free search engine that boasts an index of every tweet posted since 2006, a resource not publicly available on Twitter's own online messaging service.
Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet confirmed the Topsy acquisition without elaborating on its plans for the service.
Ms Huguet did not disclose the acquisition price, adding: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
There was a flurry of speculation on Apple's intentions, although it was generally agreed that having a better grasp on the hottest topics on Twitter could help Apple sell more advertising on iPhones and iPads - a key target for the company.
Topsy's Twitter tools could also be used simply to give the iPhone a unique search feature.
Unlike Topsy, Google, which makes the Android operating system that powers many of the iPhone's rival products, has been unable to obtain a licensing agreement that would give its search engine more immediate and deeper access to Twitter's content.
Apple spent a total of $496m acquiring other companies during its last fiscal year ending September 28.
In comparison, Google spent $1.4bn acquiring other companies during the same period, including the mapping app Waze.