Apple's App Store is already a point of antitrust urgency, and a new study by The Wall Street Journal has revealed that its own mobile apps are often first in the App Store's search results ahead of its competitors.
“The company's apps ranked first in more than 60 percent of basic searches, such as after & # 39; maps. & # 39; Apple apps that generate revenue through subscriptions or sales, such as music or books, first appeared in 95 percent of searches related to these apps, "the report said. .
In categories such as books and maps, Apple's corresponding offerings are less popular than those from Amazon and Google. Based on data gathered by the app analysis platform SensorTower, Apple Books is ranked at 223th place compared to the Amazon Kindle, which has a third position.
Apple's dominance of the App Store, according to the WSJ analysis, gives the company an "upper hand," especially when it comes to services and subscriptions for growth.
In my own tests, searching for & # 39; maps provided Apple Maps as top results, while searching for & # 39; tv, & # 39; movies & # 39; videos & # 39; viewing the iTunes Store or TV app. Search for "books" and "audiobooks" returned iBooks and after 'voice' showed 'Voice Memo' apps. Interestingly, it was searching for & # 39; audio recorder & # 39; not.
that when I say "the top", this is an ad placed as the first result, the search also returns stories and function apps, although it is not always the case. These rankings may vary depending on the country.
The report states further that the tech giant – in 2015 – considered removing all apps rated less than two stars in the App Store, but left id one because their own Podcasts app was rated as less than two stars. Apple apps no longer have any ratings and reviews associated with them.
In another example, the WSJ report highlights the issue of the Audiobooks.com app. The app held first place in the category of audio books for almost two years before being taken over by Apple's own Books app last September in what appears to be an "overnight" change.
However, Apple has pushed back on discoveries, saying it uses a combination of 42 factors – name hits, downloads, rankings, relevance, user behavior – to determine where apps rank in search.
But the ranking algorithm is kept secret to keep it fair for third-party developers and prevent manipulation of search results.
"Apple customers have a very strong connection to our products, and many of them use search as a way to find and open their apps," said the company. is why Apple has strong rankings in search, and that is the same reason why Uber, Microsoft and so many others often have high rankings as well. "
The latest developments come because Apple is facing renewed review of its App Store policies, both in the US and the EU. Gathering and favoring your own products in search (and elsewhere) proved to be costly for Google and Microsoft, both of whom have faced major antitrust fines to participate in anti-competitive behavior.  Apple has consistently denied that it is a monopoly because it has a relatively smaller market share compared to Google's Android, but the iron-clad grip of the App Store – especially in terms of pricing and discovery – has invited ten Lots of controversy, especially from Spotify.
The company also sparked a scream from developers who accused Apple of closing their competitors to market their own screen time feature in iOS. Apple finally came in and reinstated some of the parental controls it banned two months ago.
Nor have the monopolistic concerns escaped from Congress's notice. Democrat senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren in an interview with The Verge earlier this year asked for a breakup from the App Store: "They either run the platform or they play in the store. They will not do both at the same time. "