Apple Exec: We Feature Competitors' Apps 'All The Time' on the App Store

On May 3, the Epic Games vs. Apple trial got underway, and every day, new emails between Apple executives and employees continue to be shared by Epic as evidence for its case against Apple.

apple app store page
In the latest batch of emails, the vice president of the App Store, Matt Fischer, claims that Apple features apps made by its competitors "all the time" on the store and rejects the sentiment that it seeks to degrade the exposure of those apps.

According to internal Apple correspondence submitted as evidence by Epic, an Apple employee wrote an email regarding a collection of apps on the ‌App Store‌ that were a part of the VoiceOver collection. In the email, which was forwarded to Sarah Herrlinger, Apple's senior director of global accessibility policy, the employee claims that Fisher feels "extremely strong" about not featuring competing apps on the platform. The email reads:

Hi Andrea,

Just spoke with Tanya about featuring Google and Amazon apps in the VoiceOver collection and she asked us to exclude them from the lineup. Although they may be our best and the brightest apps, Matt feels extremely strong about not featuring our competitors on the App Store store, so Yanta asked us to apply the same filters for this collection. I'm sorry I didn't check this earlier.

Responding to the claim made by the employee, Fischer says that Apple features and promotes competing apps on the ‌App Store‌ "all the time," and cites the specific example of Apple featuring Peacock, Hulu, and Hulu Plus on the platform, despite them competing with its own Apple TV+ streaming service.

Apple has long faced criticism that it decreases the exposure of competing third-party apps on the ‌App Store‌ when compared to its own apps. In 2019, the company adjusted its App Store algorithm after it realized that many of its apps were ranking higher on ‌App Store‌ search results rather than apps made by other developers. Despite the change, research from analytics firm Sensor Tower at the time showed that first-party Apple apps ranked first for over 700 search terms.

(Via iMore)

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Top Rated Comments

wanha Avatar
41 months ago
Would love to know how many times Epic has promoted competitors' products on their platform for free.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Morgenland Avatar
41 months ago
Epic: Pretty Dirty Pack. Publishing emails is really borderline, because often such dialogues are just negotiation statements. Taking this to court now is: dirty.
Epic no longer deserves any respect.



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Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lolkthxbai Avatar
41 months ago

No surprise. Search "Word Processing": Apple Pages (Free), nearly everything else (not free)
I did the same search just now and Pages was 8th down the list not including an ad for an app named “Grammarly”and an AppStore Story featuring Microsoft Word.



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Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
yaxomoxay Avatar
41 months ago

Epic: Pretty Dirty Pack. Publishing emails is really borderline, because often such dialogues are just negotiation statements. Taking this to court now is: dirty.
Epic no longer deserves any respect.


emails are a pretty common type of evidential material in trials. That's why you should be very careful about what you write in them. Even the Microsoft monopoly trial back in the 1990's featured them.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fluxtransistor Avatar
41 months ago
On the Mac App Store, I regularly see Microsoft apps on the featured page. Not a competitor? Hmm...
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MauiPa Avatar
41 months ago
Terms apple is listed first:
Music
Numbers
Pages
Keynote
home
Calendar
Preview
Contacts

Terms Apple is not listed First
Music Streaming
Spotify
Tidal
Spreadsheets
Excel
Sheets
word Processing
electronic publising
Word
Slides
powerpoint


You get the idea, when the name of the Apple application is the same as the search term, voila, it comes up first. when the name as the search term is a comptetitor's product, that name comes up first, when the name is generic, who knows, but maybe most popular. spreadsheet yields Excel, so.....

And seriously, even if a free Apple app came up first versus a paid competitor, 1) apple makes no money on that, 2) if they were equally good, wouldn't you choose the free app?

This argument is all in the minds of the haters, and has been for some time
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)