Topsy could help fill in Apple’s big hole — big data

Thanks (largely) to Google, Apple’s business is no longer just about selling phones, tablets and laptops, but about selling an entire experience for which all those devices are just the access point. Data is a key part of that experience, and Apple doesn’t generate a whole lot of it on its own. That’s why its acquisition of Twitter-data specialist Topsy on Monday potentially makes so much sense.
If you think about the landscape of companies whose platforms span devices, applications and services — a collection that pretty much includes Apple, Google and Microsoft — one thing that stands out is how much data the latter two are generating compared with Apple. Microsoft has Bing, Hotmail and Xbox. Google has search, Gmail, Google+, YouTube, Zagat and more. Apple has Siri and little else (unless you count iCloud or Safari, which relies on external search engines) really comparable to those other two companies in terms of generating data about what users are looking for and how they’re using using language.

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