According to a report, Apple claims that it does not favor its apps when ranking search results for the iOS App Store, pushing back against findings in an investigation by The Wall Street Journal published yesterday, which depicts how less famous Apple apps often hold a higher echelon than better-reviewed software from third-party competitors.
The Wall Street Journal found that Apple’s apps ranked first in 60% of app categories on the App Store, which includes categories like books and maps where Apple’s offerings were far less famous than options from giant tech competitors like Amazon and Google.
For example, the giant tech’s Apple Books app, which doesn’t have a listed five-star rating or a wide range of downloads publicly available, is listed as the number one result when searching for “books” in the US version of the App Store. (Rankings can change slightly in other countries, but The Verge has confirmed Apple options often still hold No. 1 spots in the UK.) Yet Apple Books is listed as the 168th most popular app in the category by downloads.
Amazon’s Kindle app, which has a 4.8-star rating and has been rated 1.2 million times, is identified lower than Apple Books in search results, at No. 2 with a Featured App ad in between. It holds an echelon as the third most popular app in the Books category. The same situation plays out for Maps, where Apple’s offering is recognized higher in search results than Google Maps and Waze, which stands at the first and second spots, respectively, in the category. (Maps, similar to Calendar and Calculator, isn’t ranked among other navigation apps since it is pre-loaded on iOS.)In fact, the giant tech reportedly once mulled over forcibly removing all apps with less than a two-star rating, but former App Store review lead Phillip Shoemaker told WSJ that his team, which proposed the removal in 2015, was told it would kill Apple’s Podcasts app, which had less than a two-star rating at the time. Many of Apple’s apps no longer have ratings attached.