Apple is said to rank its own apps higher in the App Store than those of competitors in search results, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, which claimed that Apple’s apps ranked first in over 60 per cent basic searches such as “maps”.
Apple has denied the claims and said in a statement to the site that the search result rankings are based on 42 factors, though it not reveal those factors. The company said that the algorithm does not give its apps preference in the App Store.
The Wall Street Journal adds that Apple’s apps “routinely” appeared in search results in App Store. Especially the apps that generate revenue through subscriptions or sales such as Music or Books were given prominence in results in related searches for say ‘music’, ‘audiobooks’ even with more popular apps present in the App Store such as Amazon’s Kindle.
A guidelines page by Apple for developers to help them optimise their apps for the App Store mentions that the apps in search results are ranked in the basis on a number of factors including text relevance as well as user behaviour such as downloads as well as the number and quality of ratings and reviews.
Apple also told the site that many of its users use search to find and open apps, which affects rankings, which is why Uber, Microsoft, etc have higher rankings.
This is not the first time Apple has been accused of using unfair means to suppress its competitors. Earlier this year on March 11, Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission that the iPhone maker has created an “untenable” situation by imposing ever-changing rules and a 30 per cent tax for apps that compete with Apple Music.
Following the Spotify spat, Apple put up a dedicated page defending the App Store, saying that they encourage competition. The company said that it is not anti-competitive nor is it over-charging developers for their apps. The App Store page also talks about how the company lists out its own app such as Messages, Camera, along with noteworthy competitive apps being placed next to each name to encourage competition.
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