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Apple has been forced to tweak its App Store search algorithm after competitors flagged antitrust concerns with regulators when it emerged that it's own apps were being ranked significantly higher than popular third-party options.
The tech giant was found to be heavily favoring its own apps, which meant they appeared first in searches within Apple's iOS App Store, until the algorithm changed in July, the New York Times reports.
Apple - Products - Search - Terms - App
Apple's own products appeared first for at least 700 different search terms in the App Store, according to six years of search results compiled by analytics firm Sensor Tower and examined by the NYT.
Apple has said they do not manually change search results to benefit their products.
Searches - Year - Users - Apple - Products
In some searches last year, users would have to scroll through at least 14 Apple products before reaching a product from a third party competitor.
Some searches provided Apple-owned results that weren't even related to the search terms.
Data - Spotify - Result - App - Store
According to the data, Spotify was the top result in the App Store for several years from September 2013.
Apple Music took the top spot after it was released and added to the App Store in June 2016, which pushed Spotify to fourth place.
February - Apple - GarageBands - Music - Memos
By February 2018, Apple apps - including GarageBands and Music Memos - appeared in the top six results for music.
At the end of 2018, there were eight Apple apps listed in the top search for 'music' and Spotify was ranked 23rd.
Change - Apple - Music - Number - Spotify
Following the algorithm change, Apple Music was still ranked number one and Spotify came in fourth in the search results.
In another example, the search term 'podcast' listed its own product Apple Podcasts first in May 2018.
Options - Podcasts - Apple - Products - Compass
The next few options were unrelated to podcasts but were all Apple products, including the Compass navigation app and social media's Find My Friends.
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