Apple moves to avert app search row - Mobile World Live

Apple moves to avert app search row

09 SEP 2019

Apple executives admitted the company quietly adjusted the search algorithm in its App Store after discovering its own software dominated results for common queries, The New York Times (NYT) reported.

Executives attributed the prevalence of Apple apps in search results to a quirk in its algorithm which grouped apps by publisher. The feature was disabled for the company’s family of apps in July, they said. NYT confirmed the average number of Apple apps at the top of search results dropped that month.

Philip Schiller, Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing, told NYT “there’s nothing about the way we run search in the App Store that’s designed or intended to drive Apple’s downloads of our own apps”.

An analysis of six years of search results conducted by the newspaper found Apple products frequently topped other relevant apps in search recommendations.

The study reinforced an analysis conducted by The Wall Street Journal in July, which noted the company’s apps topped App Store results in more than 60 per cent of searches for basic terms such as maps, music or books.

Details of the change came as Apple faces scrutiny of its competitive practices from the US Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice and state legal officials.

In May, the company insisted it offers “equal opportunities to all developers” after Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission alleging Apple gave its own apps “an unfair advantage at every turn”.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana joins Mobile World Live as its new US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana comes to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and...

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