It’s taken a few months, but as expected Apple has removed VLC from the App Store. VLC is a sort of Swiss Army Knife of video players, handling a wide range of audio and video formats, including many not natively supported by Apple. Unfortunately the mobile version stutters a bit with some HD video in certain formats, but it still offers more options than you’d get using Apple’s video player.
So why did Apple pull VLC? It’s not because the media player violated Apple’s terms. It’s actually the opposite: the App Store violates the licensing terms of the VLC app.
VLC is open source software developed under the GPL (General Public License). Because iTunes restricts the way apps can be distributed, the version of VLC available from the App Store was in violation of GPL.
It’s possible we could see a version of the app distributed in the Cydia store for jailbroken iOS devices. But it’s not likely it will ever find its way back into the official App Store.
In more positive news, a version of VLC for Android is in the works, and it’s much more likely that the developers will be able to create and distribute the app in such a way that it doesn’t violate the GPL.