WSJ claims Apple favors its own apps in App Store search; Apple denies unequivocally

Apple's App Store
Apple’s App Store

Tripp Mickle from The Wall Street Journal alleges that Apple is favoring its apps unfairly in iOS App Store searches. Not only does Apple deny it, but AppleInsider’s testing with devices associated with iCloud accounts seems to disprove the allegations.

Mike Wuerthele and Malcolm Owen for AppleInsider:

A Wall Street Journal report alleged on Tuesday that Apple’s mobile apps “routinely appear first in search results ahead of competitors in the App Store.” Analysis by the claims Apple’s apps appear in the top spot in more than “60% of basic searches,” such as for “Maps” or other simple terms, but doesn’t go into great detail about what the other terms could be.

For apps with a subscription, such as Apple Music, they appeared first in 95% of searches for terms within the same industry.

In AppleInsider‘s own testing, the Wall Street Journal results could not be replicated as described in the report. Using three devices with iCloud accounts associated with purchase histories, we duplicated the generic terms that the Wall Street Journal said that they used.

Using our three devices, apps other than Apple’s apps filled the spot below the search ad in 56 of 60 of our searches, and two spots below the search ad in 48 of the 56 searches that didn’t have an Apple app in the top spot.

This is a notable deviation from the claims in the post.

MacDailyNews Take: Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy, WSJ. What, did Bloomberg “Chinese Spy Chips” News buy the WSJ?

Apple’s statement on the matter, verbatim:

We created the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers. App Store Search has only one goal — to get customers what they are looking for. We do that in a way that is fair to all developers and we do not advantage our apps over those of any developer or competitor. Today, developers have many options for distributing their apps and that’s why we work hard to make it easy, fair and a great opportunity for them to develop apps for our customers around the world.

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. This customer usage is the reason Apple has strong rankings in Search, and it’s the same reason Uber, Microsoft and so many others often have high rankings as well. The search algorithm is always changing as we strive to improve the ways our customers can find what they want and prevent fraud on the store, but our commitment to running search with the highest integrity and in a way that is fair to all developers will never change.


  1. The Wanqa Street Journal keeps fiddling with its own integrity. Duds die in darkness – and you can post that in Washington or wherever you like!

      1. I see that you have become the self-proclaimed final arbiter on integrity, Patriot1. The WSJ has printed millions of fine articles over the years and you have the gall to declare the organization totally lacking in integrity?

        You may have bought into the ridiculous rightist claims of “fake media” repeated ad nauseam for political effect, but the truth refutes that mindless propaganda. Go ahead and believe what you want, regardless of the evidence. No one can change your ossified mind anyway.

        But why should anyone believe you? Why should we believe that you have any integrity?

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