Apple is forced to change its App Store search algorithm after it turned out that its own products were ranked significantly higher than popular competitors such as Spotify
- Apple products scored higher than popular third-party options in the App Store until they adjusted the search algorithm in July
- Apple's own products first appeared in the App Store for at least 700 different search terms, according to data analysis from the New York Times
- The tech giant has said that they do not manually modify search results to benefit their products
- Some searches last year required users to scroll through at least 14 Apple products before they reached a product from an external competitor
- Some searches yielded results from Apple that were not even related to the search terms
Apple is forced to adjust its App Store search algorithm after competitors reported antitrust issues to regulators when it turned out that its own apps were ranked significantly higher than popular third-party options.
The tech giant appeared to have a strong preference for its own apps, which meant they first appeared in searches in Apple's Apple App Store, until the algorithm changed in July, the New York Times reports.
Apple's own products first appeared in the App Store for at least 700 different search terms, according to six years of search results compiled by analysis company Sensor Tower and researched by the NYT.
Apple has said that they do not change search results manually to benefit their products.
Some searches last year required users to scroll through at least 14 Apple products before they reached a product from an external competitor.
Apple is forced to adjust its App Store search algorithm after competitors have reported antitrust issues with regulators when it was found that its own apps were ranked significantly higher than popular third-party options
Some searches yielded results from Apple that were not even related to the search terms.
According to the data, Spotify was the top result in the App Store for several years from September 2013.
Apple Music took first place after the release and was added to the App Store in June 2016, bringing Spotify to fourth place.
By February 2018, Apple apps – including GarageBands and music memos – appeared in the top six results for music.
At the end of 2018, eight Apple apps were in the top search for & # 39; music & # 39; and Spotify was in 23rd place.
After the algorithm change, Apple Music was still number one and Spotify was fourth in the search results.
In another example, the search term mentioned & # 39; podcast & # 39; his own product Apple Podcasts first in May 2018.
The following options were separate from podcasts, but were all Apple products, including the Compass navigation app and Find My Friends from social media.
At one point, people had to browse at least 14 Apple apps before they found one that was not an Apple product.
Two senior Apple executives said the algorithm had recently been changed to reduce the number of own products in the best search results.
They acknowledged that the results for popular searches have been dominated by Apple products for more than a year, but denied that Apple is manually changing the search results for the benefit of their business.
Apple & # 39; s own products first appeared in the App Store for at least 700 different search terms, according to six years of search results compiled by analysis company Sensor Tower and researched by the NYT
The executives said that Apple's apps scored higher because of their popularity and that the names often match broader search terms.
& # 39; There is nothing about the way we search the App Store that is designed or intended to encourage Apple & # 39; s downloads from our own apps, & # 39; told Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president responsible for the App Store, at the NYT.
& # 39; We present results based on what we think the user wants. & # 39;
Apple is one of those currently facing a federal probe in the US for possible violations of antitrust legislation to investigate whether they are chasing rivals.
Earlier this year, Spotify filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission when the music streaming service accused Apple of stifling competition.
In the complaint, Spotify said that Apple's control over the App Store deprived consumers of choice and competing providers of audio streaming services to the benefit of Apple Music.
Apple hit back at the time and said the streaming platform wanted all the benefits of a free app without being free.
& # 39; Spotify would not be the company they are today without the App Store ecosystem, but they are now using their scale to prevent them from contributing to the preservation of that ecosystem for the next generation of app entrepreneurs & # 39 ;, said Apple in a statement on its website.
& # 39; We think that's wrong. & # 39;
The App Store had more than $ 50 billion in revenue last year.
Apple said that two-thirds of the app downloads in their store were the result of search terms.
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