Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has acquired Topsy, a social media search and analytics startup. The acquisition comes a bit of surprise from a company like Apple, who mainly focuses on hardware, and is marginally present in the social networking space.

Apple gets access to more Twitter’s data

Topsy mainly analyzes Twitter’s data and provides detailed information about various topics. Though Apple confirmed the development, but gave no information on the purpose of acquiring Topsy. According to the Wall Street Apple might have shelled out $200 million for the purchase.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said.

There was no comment from Topsy over the news.

Apple’s Foray into social media

Till now, Ping was the major social sharing network in the iTunes app that allows users to post music tracks to a news feed. However, the service could not gain much ground and was discontinued.

In recent times, the iPhone maker has been increasingly focusing on allowing users to easily share photos, videos and news on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Also, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) launched an online streaming music service, iTunes Radio, which stands to the level of services like Pandora.

“From an usage perspective, they can use it for the app store and iTunes,” told Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi to Reuters. She added that with apps it is not easy to find recommendations because it is harder to recognize what people use and why.

Recent acquisitions

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has followed a strategy, which it named “bolt-on” acquisition, as the company acquires technology startups and then assimilates them into existing or soon to be launched product. The iPhone maker has acquired many small firms to give an edge to its gadgets.

Recently, the Cupertino based company acquired Israeli 3D developer PrimeSense Ltd for $250 million. The acquisition is supposed to bring the gesture technology in the upcoming iPhones and iPads. Back in 2008, it acquired a semiconductor designer for building the processors that are presently used in iPhone and iPad. Apple paid $280 million for acquiring Semiconductor Company.

Last year, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) acquired app search tool Chomp to better its online apps store, which is one of the biggest app stores along with Google Inc’s Play for Android devices.