In an interview with the New York Times, Apple executives Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue revealed that Apple has adjusted the App Store algorithm to “handicap” its own apps from appearing too much in search results.
Following press attention, Apple found that the App Store was deciding to show a lot of Apple apps for common search terms. For instance, a search for “music” would show not only Apple Music, but up to seven other first-party apps in the first ten spots.
Apple claims this happened due to a feature of the App Store ranking engine where apps from the same developer are often shown together. This feature can be helpful, for instance when customers search for “office” they can see most of Microsoft’s suite.
However, the outsized popularity of Apple’s stock apps was causing the grouping behavior to dominate too much. Part of the cause is that some iPhone and iPad customers apparently use App Store search to find apps that are already installed on their phones. When users would click on an Apple app, its popularity rises disproportionately to third-parties.
Full Content: New York Times