Apple is Secretly Working On App Store Shake-Up

By James O Malley on at

Apple's app store could soon start to look and behave very differently, if reports are to be believed.

According to Bloomberg the company is planning to switch to a Google-style "paid search" model, where app developers can pay to have their apps listed higher in search results for certain keywords. For example, Candy Crush's developers could pay to have their app as the top result for a search for "game". The thinking is that app developers now have massive marketing budgets - and Apple would clearly like some of that cash.

The big problem that Apple also needs to solve is one of the app store being too crowded. There are currently around 1.5 million different apps - so fixing the search, recommendations and featured sections so that they show users the best possible choices is important for driving downloads and embedding users further into Apple's app eco-system.

Apparently Apple has around 100 members of staff working on these improvements, who have been mostly taken from the iAd team. iAds - Apple's attempt at creating interactive in-app adverts - have not proved anywhere near as successful as Apple had hoped.

It'll be interesting to see if the changes help both users and app developers. And no doubt, if paid search is successful for Apple you can bet that Google will start doing similar with its Play store on Android too. [Bloomberg]