Manipulation of App Store search by Apple to make its apps stand out more than competitors

Manipulation of App Store search by Apple to make its apps stand out more than competitors

Manipulation of App Store search by Apple to make its apps stand out more than competitors

News unit Following the careful reviews of New York Times and Wall experts Street Journal In 2019, it was found that when searching for an app in the App Store, on the results page, proprietary apps Apple are placed higher than similar competing applications. Companies that offer their own products alongside similar products of other brands have always been involved with this issue, to the extent that large companies such as

Despite Apple’s denial of this charge, some news shows that Apple’s applications are ahead of similar competing applications in the App Store search, and that Apple was really involved in this. In the course of Legal litigation between Epic Games and Apple, an email chain between Apple and Epic Games officials has recently been published, which shows that Apple, in a period of 11 months, by manipulating the search results of the App Store, the application It has placed itself exclusively for cloud storage – called Files – above similar applications – including Dropbox.

The story begins in 2018; Back when Apple and Epic Games had a good relationship. Apparently, Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games, after searching the word Dropbox in the App Store, comes across the Files app as the first result. This prompted him to send an email to Debankur Naskar, Apple’s head of App Store search, to remind him of this. “Dropbox doesn’t even show up on the first page [of search results],” Tim Sweeney wrote in the email. Although it is not possible to understand Sweeney’s real tone from these words, we can guess that he was surprised by this incident and asked for an explanation from NASCAR’s debunker.

In response to the email, NASCAR says: “We are removing manual upgrades and search results should now be more relevant.” As seen in this email chain, according to NASCAR, the deliberate promotion of the Files app in App Store search dates back to Apple’s 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference; That is, about a year after the first release of this application. This one NASCAR sentence clearly tells about Apple’s loss in promoting the Files application in the App Store.

Of course, Matt Fischer, vice president of the App Store, objects to Apple’s manipulation of search results and denies it. In an email to NASCAR, he initially says: “Who gave the green light to put the Files app above Dropbox in the search results? I didn’t know about it and I don’t think we should do it.” But Matt Fisher himself ends his email conversation by saying: “In the future, I would like any similar requests to be sent to me for review and approval.” The same sentence shows, Matt Fisher does not completely negate the issue of intentional manipulation of search results.

Despite the acknowledgment by the authorities responsible for this manipulation, Apple considers this to be a simple mistake and justifies its work in such a way that the Files application has integration with Dropbox and Apple has included Dropbox in the metadata of Files. Is. That’s why Files automatically ranks higher than Dropbox in search results.

Of course, some experts have not accepted this explanation for the following reasons: First, this explanation is not consistent with what NASCAR said in the email. Secondly, Apple promised that this problem will be fixed immediately, when we know that this problem has lasted for 11 months. Third, Apple has been silent on repeated questions about whether this has happened to other apps as well.

In the analysis of this issue, we must say that the higher placement of Apple applications in It doesn’t matter if the search results are manual or not. What matters is that for 11 months, iPhone and iPad users around the world would come across Apple’s Files app by searching the word Dropbox in the App Store. This issue may be related to Apple’s longstanding problem with Dropbox. In 2009, Steve Jobs, the founder and CEO of Apple at the time, planned to buy Dropbox – which was a start-up company at the time. But Drew Houston, the CEO of Dropbox, was not satisfied with doing this. Steve Jobs also firmly declared that iCloud will destroy Dropbox’s business; Something that never came true with Dropbox’s continued success.

Furthermore, it is completely pointless to discuss whether the promotion of Apple apps is done manually or by any other method. After all, we know that algorithms are written by humans. If Apple can design a 42-factor algorithm that skews search results in favor of its own apps, why does it need to abandon the same algorithm, risk having its emails leaked, and engage in a legal battle for years?

Apple could easily change that algorithm at will; The same thing he did two years ago to please the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. According to the Times, Apple changed the search algorithm in the App Store in July 2019, and as a result of this change – which was made by one of the company’s engineers – we saw an immediate drop in the ranking of Apple applications in the App Store. At that point, Apple executives didn’t see the previous formula as a mistake. The purpose of Apple’s action was to prevent others from thinking that Apple differentiates between its own applications and others. So during this time, Apple worked on improving the algorithm to achieve the desired results.

Apple has recently released the following statement in response to the confusion about search results in the App Store:

We App Store We created it to be a safe and secure place for customers to find and download apps, as well as a great business opportunity for developers. [Feature] App Store search has only one goal: to provide what customers are looking for. We do this in a way that is fair to all developers and we do not promote our apps over those of any other developer or competitor. Today, developers have many options for distributing their apps, and that’s why we’re working hard to make it easy, fair, and a great opportunity for developers to develop apps for our customers around the world.

At the end, it should be mentioned, after spending a year and a half to examine the concerns related to the monopoly of large companies, the US House of Representatives on Friday, June 11, 2021 (June 21, 1400), proposed a law called He put the “End of Platform Monopoly Act” on the agenda, which was later renamed the “American Online Choice and Innovation Act”. This plan includes 5 bills and is supposed to stop the abuse of big companies like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook. One of the bills of the new law states that the bill “targets the ability of large technology companies to use their online platforms to promote their products over competitors.” Therefore, this law, if approved, can challenge the current management of the Apple App Store.

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