According to new court filings by BlueMail app developer Blix, which is suing Apple for patent infringement and antitrust violations, Apple has been suppressing the rankings of apps in the App Store that compete with the company’s own offerings, The Washington Post is reporting.
The developer, which filed the lawsuit back in October, says it has recently uncovered new data supporting its claims. It is only after Blix’s unexpected jump from 143rd in Apple’s ranking for mail apps to 13th is when it made the discovery.
Blix says it had been highly ranked in the competing Android app stores, run by companies like Google, Samsung, Amazon, and Huawei for years. However, it had long been ranked very low in the App Store where it competes with Apple’s own mail app:
Blix says it used market research firm Sensor Tower to research the unexplained spike in BlueMail’s ranking on the iOS store.
“Multiple different types of Apple app competitors enjoyed a sudden, unexplained rise in search rankings,” according to Blix’s latest filing in court, which appeared Friday. The spike came roughly two weeks after a New York Times article examined how Apple ranked its own apps higher than competitors’.
Apple clearly states on its website that the App Store provides “equal opportunities to developers” to deliver their apps and services across iOS devices. Apple is yet to issue any official comment on the litigation.