Technology

Topsy Caps Apple's Year in Acquisitions (So Far)


Holy acquisition, Batman! Apple (AAPL) just bought something!

The media maelstrom is already well under way, parsing Apple’s rumored $200 million purchase of Twitter-analytics company Topsy. But I’m not going to get into that—other than to say it’s clear that this particular transaction means Apple’s going to launch an iPhone 6 with a flexible screen, powered by cold fusion, and packaged with a drone mount.

With that out of the way, let’s look at the Topsy acquisition in context. It’s the 10th such purchase Apple has made this year. What were the other nine?

Three mapping companies—HopStop, Locationary, and Embark. No surprise there, as Apple has been beefing up its mapping efforts since it walked away from Google Maps (GOOG).

PrimeSense is the original developer of technology that ultimately went into Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox Kinect motion sensor. Apple was willing to part with $350 million to get in on that action.

Passif Semiconductor makes low-power wireless chips that take advantage of the new Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) standard. Apple has its own Bluetooth LE technology, called iBeacon, so this makes sense.

WiFi Slam is another company Apple picked up this year. It too works in the field of indoor location services, dovetailing quite nicely with the mapping companies Apple bought and Passif Semi.

Apple also took on Matcha, a video recommendation engine. You know what this means, right? Apple TV is TOTALLY GOING TO HAPPEN! Or it won’t.

AlgoTrim got absorbed into Cupertino this year, as well. The company designs methods to make mobile media use bandwidth more efficiently.

Cue was a cross-platform search engine and aggregator Apple also purchased this year. It allowed you to check Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR), and other social accounts from one interface. You know, like Apple’s Notification Center.

That’s been Apple’s year (so far) in acquisitions. No big splashes—that was left to Yahoo! (YHOO), which bought 21 different companies this year, from the jumbo $1 billion Tumblr deal to buying news-sharing service Snip.it for $10 million. Or put another way, Yahoo bought as many companies this year as Apple has bought in four.

Grobart is a senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek and the managing editor of Bloomberg Digital Video. Follow him on Twitter @samgrobart.

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