Also see Apple 'Improves' App Store Search By 'Handicapping' Its Own Apps | Gizmodo
"Apple told the Times that the App Store was actually working as designed in these instances. “There’s nothing about the way we run search in the App Store that’s designed or intended to drive Apple’s downloads of our own apps,” Phil Schiller, the Apple vice president who oversees the App Store, said in an interview on the subject. “We’ll present results based on what we think the user wants.” The idea that someone would “want” to see the iTunes Remote or Clips apps ahead of Spotify or Pandora when searching for “music” frankly seems a little idiotic. That reasoning doesn’t really hold up.Apple ‘improved’ App Store search after its own apps unfairly dominated results | The Verge
But there was another culprit to blame. Apple says it had an algorithm in play that would often group together apps from the same developer in results. Since Apple’s apps have basic names like Podcasts or Music, they’d show up first — followed by a batch of other, irrelevant Apple apps right after.
The algorithm was updated in July, a few months after Spotify filed a formal complaint about Apple’s tactics, and search results quickly looked more sensible and balanced afterward. As the company faces an antitrust inquiry from the EU, Apple’s executives were careful to avoid admitting any wrongdoing or harmful mistakes. “It’s not corrected,” Schiller said of the algorithm. “It’s improved,” added Eddy Cue, who ran the App Store before Schiller took over those duties."