In the App Store, will Apple favor its own apps?


The Translation Bureau is a compilation team of 36氪, focusing on science and technology, business, workplace, life and other fields, focusing on foreign new technologies, new ideas and new trends.Editor’s note: Search for keywords in the Apple App Store, and their products are often placed on top of competitors.As the App Store continues to grow, Apple has received more and more monopoly questions.For the monopoly, Apple denied it.What are the reasons they gave?Follow the article in The New York Times to see if their rhetoric is justified.This article was translated from The New York Times by Jack Nicas and Keith Collins, originally titled “Does Apple Tip the Scales in Favor of Its Own Apps?” If you recently opened the App Store on the iPhone, in the search boxEnter “Music” and the first result will be Apple’s iTunes.The next one will be Apple Music.Then there are some Apple apps, even some products that are completely unrelated to music, such as iMovie.Sometimes you have to browse up to eight Apple apps to find an app developed by different publishers.According to Apple, this is how the App Store works.Critics say this is precisely the problem.In the App Store search results, the top ranked is the most competitive real estate in the network economy.App Store’s sales last year exceeded $50 billion, and Apple said that two-thirds of app downloads started with search.But as Apple has the most competitive advantage on its own platform, the core issue of antitrust complaints in the US, Europe and Russia is that they suspect that Apple has been leaning in favor of itself.The New York Times analysis of the six-year search results compiled by the application analysis company Sensor Tower shows that Apple’s app recently ranked first in the App Store’s at least 700 search terms.The analysis also shows that some searches generate up to 14 Apple apps before displaying competitors’ search results.(But competitors can also pay Apple to put ads on top of Apple’s search results.) In a recent interview, two Apple executives admitted the results of the analysis, in more than a yearThe top few common search results in the iPhone’s App Store are indeed Apple’s own apps.This is true even if Apple’s application is not as strong and popular as its competitors’ applications.These executives said that the algorithm has been adjusted since then, reducing the chances of their own applications appearing at the top of search results.The New York Times’ analysis of App Store data, including the rankings of more than 1,800 specific applications spanning 13 keywords since 2013, is enough to show that the algorithms supported by the technology platform are influential and opaque..These algorithms can help decide which applications to install, which articles to read, and which products to buy.But Apple and other tech giants like Facebook and Google won’t explain in detail how these algorithms work, even if they blame the algorithm.Apple’s senior vice president Philip Schiller manages the App Store, and Eddie Cue, another senior vice president, manages Apple apps that profit from search results. They say the company showsThe algorithm for search results has no secrets at all.These executives said that Apple did not manually modify the search results for its own benefit.In contrast, Apple apps are generally ranked higher than competitors because they are popular, and their common names tend to match the vast majority of search terms.”The way we run search in the App Store is not to drive users to download our own apps,” Schiller said. “It’s based on what we think users want to present results.Apple added its app to the App Store in June 2016. Sensor Tower data shows that since then, Apple’s app has become the preferred search result for many popular search terms. The data also shows that these Apple appsThe rankings have been around for a few years, and some of the rivals have been behind, sometimes after hundreds of places. An Apple spokesperson said the company was unable to verify the data because there was no record of historical search results. The company was built through its App Store.The influence is facing the most direct legal challenge in the United States. In May this year, the Supreme Court passed an anti-monopoly class action against Apple with 5 votes in favor and 4 votes against. The Supreme Court said that consumers should beOpportunity proves that the tech giant has used monopoly power to increase the price of iPhone apps. When multiple Apple apps bundled search results, such as search for “music,” Apple executives attributed the results to the App Store as a feature of search engines.This feature sometimes groups applications by manufacturer. They adjusted this feature in July so thatIf the application does not look like special treatment and therefore many Apple applications off the assembly line, however, denied the existence of these executives who need to solve the problem of Schiller said:… “It did not get corrected.”Kui said: “There has been progress.”Some consultants who research the App Store algorithm to help companies get higher rankings say that Apple’s continued success in the market is doubtful. The algorithm is an automated system designed primarily for stand-alone operation. But it is human decisionThe algorithm’s metrics, and these decisions may be subjective. ASO project CEO Todd Dunham said: “I can hardly believe that some of Apple’s applications will rank better than those reviews.More competitors with more downloads are higher.Eric Enge, an application store consultant at consulting firm Perficient, said some of the search results found in the New York Times analysis seemed “instructive.”He said: “There is no doubt that the application domain is one of the main battlefields, and the dominant position can be commercially profitable.” The App Store search algorithm was developed by a team of engineers in Cupertino, California.Some of them said in another interview arranged by Apple that they have not noticed for months that Apple dominated music and other categories of search results.They say that once they notice, only one engineer can decide to change the algorithm.Engineers say they must be vague when talking about how their algorithms work, to avoid revealing too much information to scammers who want to use algorithms.They say the algorithm detects 42 different signals, including the relevance of the application to a given search, ratings, and popularity based on downloads and user clicks.Apple launched the App Store in 2008 and quickly changed the mobile phone industry, creating a new market for people to download games, office tools and social networking services.More than 2 million apps are available for download on the App Store.Apple’s tight control of the App Store has led to a market that seems to be less susceptible to the Play Store.The Play Store is the app marketplace for Android smartphones operated by Google.Google’s Play Store results are partially personalized, so everyone may see a different set of results.Companies such as Facebook, Spotify, and Yelp are thriving on Apple’s platform, which typically gives app developers more revenue than Google’s Play Store.In order to get their apps explored, the company tried to push them to the top of the App Store search results.There is an industry consultant who charges for this because they have the expertise to set the appropriate title, description and other details to please the App Store algorithm.But Apple’s algorithm also seems to bring benefits to its own applications.On August 21st, among the approximately 60,000 search terms tracked by Sensor Tower, the Apple app ranked first among 735 search terms.Most of the search results being traced are vague, but Apple’s app ranks first in many popular searches.For example, for most of June and July, the Apple app is the preferred search result for these search terms: books, music, news, magazines, podcasts, videos, TV, movies, sports, smart cards, gifts,Money, credit cards, debit cards, fitness, people, friends, time, notes, documents, documents, clouds, storage, messages, home, store, mail, maps, traffic, stocks and weather.The Wall Street Journal also found that in the analysis of 600 search results in two days in June, Apple’s application often ranked first in many searches.Apple is often successful in some of the most competitive search results in the App Store.From June 2018 to last month, at least four Apple apps were far ahead of the “TV” search results, and Netflix was basically trapped in a hundred.In the “music” search, Spotify has been the first search result for many years, but in June 2016, Apple Music reached the top spot shortly after entering the App Store.By the end of 2018, the top eight were all Apple apps, some of which were not related to music.If you search for “podcasts” in May 2018, you must browse up to 14 Apple apps to find apps created by another app.Since June 2016, the Apple podcast app has been at the top of the “Podcast” search, but other popular podcast apps have performed poorly in the rankings.For example, since June 2018, a competitor Stitcher has been trapped in hundreds of podcast search results.This caused a loss to Stitcher’s business.Stitcher’s marketing director, Amy Fitzgibbons, said that on Google’s Play Store, most of the users searching for “podcasts” downloaded Stitcher.She said: “But in Apple’s App Store, our app was not even listed as a download source when searching for ‘podcasts’.” The New York Times analysis also found other amazing cases of Apple’s application success.On March 25th, the company launched an Apple-branded credit card that can be used with the Apple Wallet app.The next day, Apple Wallet topped the list of “money,” “credit card,” and “debit card.”Prior to this, these apps did not rank in these search terms.Kuy and other Apple executives speculated that the marketing team of the Apple Wallet app added “money”, “credit card” and “debit card” keywords to the basic description of the app to cause them to appear in search results.Then, people search for these words, find the Apple Wallet app and click on it to tell the algorithm that this should be a preferred result.Schiller said: “We can only tell you that in addition to launching a great e-wallet, an Apple credit card, and promoting it, we have not done anything to promote this trend.” Apple executives saidWhen the search results were filled with Apple’s app, the algorithm concluded that people were looking for a specific Apple app and decided to have other apps from the same developer appear in the search results.But this is not always good for Apple.They say, for example, the search for “office” will lead to a series of Microsoft applications because the algorithm recognizes that they are looking for Microsoft office tools.Apple engineers say the algorithm believes that people who search for “music” only want Apple Music because users click Apple Music very frequently.Apple Music has a distinct advantage over other apps: it comes pre-installed on the iPhone.Apple said that some people use search engines to find applications that are already installed on their phones.When people search for “music,” the App Store reminds them that they have Apple Music installed.Engineers say that many people click on the app, which increases its popularity in the eyes of the algorithm.Apple engineers say that in the past few months, they have begun to notice how the algorithm packages the results with Apple applications.So, first they stopped the algorithm to do this in a particular search.In July of this year, they closed all opportunities for Apple applications.On July 12th, many Apple apps dropped sharply in the popular search rankings.In the “TV” search results, Apple’s application changed from four to two; when searching for “video” and “map”, Apple’s three popular applications became one; and Apple Wallet from “money” and “credit card”The top of the list fell.Schiller and Kuy said that the algorithm has been running normally.They just decided to limit themselves to helping other developers.Kui said: “We always make mistakes.”Schiller said: “We are very happy to admit this, this is true.” Translator: Yoyo_J.