Apple admits it ranked its Files app ahead of competitor Dropbox - The Verge
Jun 11, 2021 1 min, 24 secs

In 2019, facing down extensive investigations by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times that showed Apple’s App Store clearly and consistently ranking its own apps ahead of competitors, Apple claimed it had done nothing wrong — a secret algorithm containing 42 different variables was working as intended, top executives told the Times, insisting that Apple doesn’t manually alter search results.

Apple trial where it sure looks like Apple did the exact opposite — seemingly admitting it manually boosted the ranking of its own Files app ahead of the competition for 11 entire months.

“We are removing the manual boost and the search results should be more relevant now,” wrote Apple app search lead Debankur Naskar, after the company was confronted by Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney over Apple’s Files app showing up first when searching for Dropbox.

As you’ll see, Naskar suggested that Files had been intentionally boosted for that exact search result during the “last WWDC.” That would have been WWDC 2017, nearly a year earlier, when the Files apps first debuted.

“[W]ho green lit putting the Files app above Dropbox in organic search results.

Apple manually boosts its first-party apps in search results.

The most Apple would tell me is that it didn’t manually boost Files over competitors, and that “we do not advantage our apps over those of any developer or competitor” as a general rule.

What matters is the result: for 11 months, Apple’s new Files app owned exact searches for its competitor Dropbox, a company Steve Jobs reportedly swore he would kill off, and it took the CEO of a prominent Apple partner emailing the company before Apple did something about it.

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