In the past, searching for an app on Apple’s App Store would inevitably have you viewing one of Apple’s own apps as the top result. While that’s tolerable enough (I suppose), Apple also reportedly pushed a bunch of unrelated (Apple) apps to the top of results as well. This means that searching for “Music” would have apps like Compass and Find My Friends listed at the top of results as well—which is frankly, unacceptable.
All this has led to competitors labelling Apple’s actions as the gatekeeper of the App Store to be unfair, with Spotify even making an official complaint to the European Commission. These perceived injustices have eventually led to Apple updating the algorithm, although executives have stopped short of admitting any wrong-doing—the App Store is now “improved”, but “not corrected”.
In fact, Philip Schiller, a senior VP who is in charge of the App Store, said that there hasn’t been any underhandedness at all, when it comes to the App Store.
“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. We’ll present results based on what we think the user wants.”
They’re maintaining that these results are not altered in any way, other than organic results from the algorithm that ranks these apps in search results. The top-ranking of Apple’s proprietary apps, they say, is down to the generic nature of app names and the popularity of their services.
As such, this is merely an improvement. Not a correction in any sense of the word. But if the reports are true, and you had to scroll through 14 of Apple’s different apps to get to 3rd party apps, it’s certainly contradicts what their executives are saying.
There’s one more aspect to it, however. Apple says that the reason why users reported seeing irrelevant apps when searching for a particular keyword, is because the algorithm used to group apps based on the developers. Which means that when searching for “Music”, you see Apple Music first, followed by a bunch of other Apple apps.
But that’s been “improved” now (remember, not corrected), so do let us know in the comments section if you encounter something similar.