Published: Wed, September 11, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Apple tweaked App Store searches so its apps don't always rank first

Apple tweaked App Store searches so its apps don't always rank first

This is one of the major complaints made by music streamer Spotify to the EU Competition Committee, which is now investigating the claim. There is also Lawsuit against the copany's these policy allowed to proceed by the US Supreme court. Schiller and Cue suggested that App Store results are created to also offer up apps by the same developer, which explains why users might get not just one Apple-made result but half a dozen.

Under Apple's tight control, the App Store is the only way to install software on the iPhone, but Apple also competes with developers on the store. The Times analysis found "Apple's apps ranked first for numerous popular queries. for books, music, news, magazines, podcasts, video, TV, movies, sports, card, gift, money, credit, debit, fitness, people, friends, time, notes, docs, files, cloud, storage, message, home, store, mail, maps, traffic, stocks and weather".

According to the Times, Apple apps have recently ranked first for at least 700 search terms.

If you searched for an app in Apple's App Store over the past year, chances are good that one of the first results showed you software made by Apple, even if it had little to do with what you were searching. As the company faces an antitrust inquiry from the EU, Apple's executives were careful to avoid admitting any wrongdoing or harmful mistakes.

The two Apple executives that spoke with the newspaper were Senior Vice Presidents Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue; the former is in charge of the App Store while the latter oversees many of Apple's own apps. The company said part of the reason its own apps ranked at the top is that the search algorithms give preference to apps already installed on the device.

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So in July, Apple finally removed all of its apps from showing up in search results, which caused a number of first-party apps like Apple Wallet top drop in rank.

The iPhone maker updated the App Store search algorithms in July this year, just four months after music streaming service Spotify filed a formal complaint with European antitrust regulators about Apple's behavior. Apple says it had an algorithm in play that would often group together apps from the same developer in results.

But this isn't the end of the story.

In typical Apple fashion, the company first denied manipulating search results ranking, explaining that it uses a complex algorithm that should prevent anyone - including itself - from gaming the system. Eventually, Spotify came down to the fourth spot and then to the 23rd position, which led Spotify into complaining against Apple.

The way the algorithm works now is "not corrected", Schiller added. "It's improved", said Cue.

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