Apple’s monopoly over its App Store was evident when a majority of its apps took top positions in search results, instead of those related to the search query. This was a year ago, and the situation seems to have changed, as suggested by the latest report.
Apple’s App Store tweak
As per an analysis by The New York Times, Apple has made changes to its App Store algorithm. It no longer displays too many Apple apps when a user searches for a particular type of app.
Apple apps’ monopoly was acknowledged by two Apple executives during an interview with the NY Times, suggesting that it wasn’t intentional on the part of the company.
Previous App Store Situation
Back in 2018, when a user searched for Podcasts in the App Store, they would find Apple displaying its own podcast app along with other Apple apps (around 14 to be precise). Other related third-party apps were displayed below them.
For instance, Spotify ranked high on the App Store prior to Apple Music’s entry on the App Store. Eventually, Spotify came down to the fourth spot and then to the 23rd position, which led Spotify into complaining against Apple.
Apple apps topped the App Store for at least 700 search terms, as suggested by the NY Times’ analysis of six years of search results accumulated by app analytics company Sensor Tower.
One thing worth noting is that the apps ranked high on the App Store even when they weren’t as popular as other third-party apps, suggesting that Apple manipulated its app’s presence on the App Store.
Apple’s say on its App Store algorithms
While Apple, much like various tech firms, doesn’t describe the functionality of its algorithms, Phill Schiller and Eddy Cue have suggested that its algorithms are not deceitful.
Furthermore, Apple said it doesn’t manipulate the search results, and its apps ranking high on the App Store is due to the popularity of the apps and due to the app’s generic names being close to “broader search terms.” However, it didn’t always prove beneficial for Apple.
In May, the Supreme Court alleged that Apple’s monopoly was visible in the apps’ increased prices.
Furthermore, a few analysts give us an inkling that Apple algorithms were manually handled by Apple so that its apps top the app list. Apple apps continued to rank higher than other apps, even when the latter had better ratings and more downloads.
Has the apparent monopoly ended?
As hinted at by various accusations, Apple seems to have favored its apps. However, the algorithm change means it paid heed to the allegations and tried fixing the issue.
If we talk about the current situation, the first result to most of the queries is an Apple app. However, the list doesn’t have 14 of them and makes room for third-party apps, allowing them to rank as per their potential.