Sci-tech

Apple Changes App Store Algorithm to Address Antitrust Complaint

Apple Changes App Store Algorithm to Address Antitrust Complaint”

The only way to get software onto an iPhone (without voiding its warranty) is by getting that software onto the App Store. But as the one and only place where iPhone users are able to download native software, the App Store has faced more thorough scrutiny throughout the last few years.

As first reported by The Wall Street Journal, Apple-owned apps had been dominating the search results pages for competitive terms such as Music. Remember, there's still a little time for developers to update their 32-bit apps to 64-bit, so you may not wind up losing them all. So weird and random!

As per an analysis by The New York Times, Apple has made changes to its App Store algorithm. In July, the company turned off the algorithm from packing results with Apple 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. Two Apple executives, when presented with the data, admitted that the App Store search results were loaded with Apple's own apps. Apple's VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller 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".

In fairness to Apple, these types of skewed results are nearly never intentional. In that case the algorithm will surface a number of Microsoft apps.

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land.

Apple maintains that it never intentionally favored its own apps. The problem, as you might guess, is that users would frequently tap on Apple's titles - sometimes because they were looking for the preinstalled apps on their phones, company engineers said. Inversely, the same thing happens when you search for "Office". As of July 23rd it disabled the feature that groups their apps together when displaying search results. I'd say no. Some might argue it's just very aggressive SEO. The plaintiffs argue that the 30% cut that Apple takes on revenue generated by app sales, subscriptions, and in-app purchases leads them to pay higher prices since they are forced to make these transactions inside the App Store. However, the list doesn't have 14 of them and makes room for third-party apps, allowing them to rank as per their potential. The idea of something being "designed by Apple" still carries some weight.

If you do have any 32-bit apps installed, you'll need to check to see if there is a 64-bit version (if the app has a website, it should say whether one is available). In my anecdotal experience, Apple regularly features apps that it directly competes with (which is, to be clear, good and commendable), but it also promotes itself, leveling the playing field nearly immediately upon an Apple program's introduction.



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