Daniel Jalkut, writing about Bloomberg’s recent report of paid placement in App Store search results:
Allowing third parties to pay for placement in the App Store would not contribute to Apple’s justifications for the App Store in any way. Who benefits from such a change? The businesses paying for the placement, presumably. It’s hard to see how paid placement would consistently benefit either Apple or its direct customers. It’s unlikely that paid listings would be used to highlight apps that are in line with Apple’s other goals for the store.
There’s just too many downsides associated with charging developers for placement in App Store search results. I would be shocked if Apple made a move like this.