VLC Media Player No Longer Available on App Store

Shortly after the popular multi-format video player VLC was introduced to the App Store, there were whispers about its potential departure due to licensing conflicts. Indeed, a few months down the line, the app was no longer available, confirming the concerns as removed from the App Store.

Before forming a mob and heading to Cupertino, it’s crucial to understand that the removal of VLC from the App Store was not due to Apple’s direct actions but rather stemmed from the actions of an individual. Interestingly, this individual is employed by Nokia, a direct competitor of Apple in the mobile market.

Rémi Denis-Courmont, a significant contributor to the VLC project, initiated a solo effort against the iOS version of VLC developed by Applidium. He argued that the application’s presence in the App Store, which applies Digital Rights Management (DRM) to its downloads, breached the terms of the GNU Public License (GPL) under which VLC’s code is licensed.

This action ironically led to the app’s unavailability, thwarting the very principle of free distribution he aimed to protect.

It’s also worth noting that the VideoLAN organization, which oversees the VLC desktop version, was not involved in the decision to remove the iOS app from the App Store. The entire debacle was primarily the result of one individual’s disagreement with the App Store’s policies. This individual had a clear conflict of interest, given his employment with Nokia, a competitor of Apple. [It’s important to recognize that in many open-source projects, the line between individual contributors and the project as a whole can be blurry, and the organizational structure may be informal; the specifics of Denis-Courmont’s role within VideoLAN and his influence are not fully transparent.

–Ed.]

Moreover, Courmont’s response to the removal was notably bitter:

“Finally, Apple has removed the VLC media player from its application store. Thus, the conflict between the GNU General Public License and the AppStore’s terms of use has been resolved – albeit in a harsh manner. This outcome should not have surprised anyone, given the history.”

Thanks, Rémi. While your principles might be commendable, they don’t help the millions who could have benefited from the FREE VLC app on their iOS devices.

Chris

Kevin is a dedicated writer for TUAW, where he brings the latest Apple news to life. With a keen eye for detail, Kevin covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest updates on macOS. His insightful articles help readers stay informed about their favorite Apple products, including the iPad, Apple Watch, and MacBook. Kevin’s commitment to delivering accurate and engaging content makes him a trusted voice in the Apple community.