Apple has reportedly adjusted the App Store algorithms so its apps appear further down in search results.
The change comes after numerous international lawsuits claimed the tech giant was unfairly promoting Apple products over apps from third-party developers.
An investigation from The New York Times found that some search terms would have the top 14 results filled by Apple-owned apps, even if there were more popular and more relevant independent apps on the market.
Previously, the only way for competitors to appear at the top of the search results was if they purchased an advertising space.
Apple has long denied that it is anti-competitive, and claimed that the algorithm had not been deliberately manipulated. A representative explained that the apps appear often in results because they are associated with many common terms.
In July it quietly altered the search mechanisms so its apps would not rise to the top, helping to combat rumours of special treatment. However, Vice President Philip Schiller admitted that the problem had not been fully resolved – the majority of Apple apps are so popular that they tend to get grouped near the top under different configurations of search technology.
Apple was forced to appear before the US Supreme Court at the end of last year to defend itself against accusations of antitrust law violations. Plaintiffs are claiming that it has unreasonable control over the app industry and that the 30% commission rate it charges is forcing developers to sell their products at a higher price.
At Tuesday’s press event, Apple unveiled a variety of updated products, including the iPhone 11, the Apple Watch 5 and a brand new streaming service.
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