Here’s Why Apple’s Own Apps Dominate App Store Searches
Here’s Why Apple’s Own Apps Dominate App Store Searches
Apple accused of favoring its own properties in App Store results
10 September, 2019, 12:14
Apple's iOS App Store heavily favored the company's iPhone and iPad apps and ranked them higher than more popular third-party options until a recent algorithm change, according to a new report from The New York Times. Mind you, the App Store generated over $50 billion in sales past year, with over 60% of that money coming from direct searches.
Apple engineers said the App Store algorithm looks at 42 different signals, including relevance and rankings based on downloads and reviews, but the company still keeps mum on how exactly the algorithm works to prevent people from gaming the system. This is one of the major complaints made by music streamer Spotify to the EU Competition Committee, which is now investigating the claim.
"There's nothing about the way we run search in the App Store that's designed or meant to drive Apple's downloads of our own apps", Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president who oversees the App Store, told the Times.
"There's nothing about the way we run search in the App Store that's designed or meant to drive Apple's downloads of our own apps", Apple senior vice president Phillip Schiller told The Times.
The Times presented Apple with data from app-tracking provider Sensor Tower, which highlighted how products such as Apple Music and Apple TV consistently claimed the top search ranking over competitors, including Spotify and Netflix. Some searches produced as many as 14 Apple apps before showing results from rivals, the analysis showed. 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". It also tends to group apps by developer in search results, which helped boost Apple's other apps.
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Apple (AAPL) made the tweaks in July, the Timesreported.
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. No other Apple apps were in the top 10 and Spotify was back to fourth with YouTube Music fifth, SoundCloud seventh and Pandora eighth.
In addition to the various government investigations, there are a number of App Store related lawsuits that Apple faces from developers, as well as a consumer class action. The idea that someone would "want" to see the iTunes Remote or Clips apps ahead of Spotify or Pandora when searching for "music" frankly seems a little idiotic. Meanwhile, Apple won't admit that there ever was a problem that needed correcting.
Mr. Schiller and Mr. Cue said the algorithm had been working properly. "It's improved", said Cue.
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