VLC Media Player Maker Lashes Out Against App Stores

VLC Media Player Maker Lashes Out Against App Stores

VideoLAN, the creators of the immensely popular open-source VLC Media Player, has come out swinging against app stores as a whole, labelling them ‘a mistake’.

VideoLAN took to Twitter (now X) to vent its frustrations on app stores. If you’re unfamiliar, VLC Media Player is an open-source and free application across Windows, Android, Linux, Mac, and iOS platforms. It’s one of the apps I would consider a must-have for any Windows user, and you can download it freely from the company’s website.

Additionally, VLC is also available on app stores, which cater to users who perhaps want a more streamlined experience through a single store provider. However, there are problems with this arrangement, problems that could spell trouble for iOS and Windows S users.

At the moment, VideoLAN is unable to update its app on the Play Store and the Windows Store (Microsoft’s desktop app store, which is completely optional and I highly recommend not using whenever you can) unless the app were to drop significant security features, or axe support for a wealth of users.

It’s very much about updated requirements from app store operators. For example, on Android, Google is requiring VideoLAN to hand over its private signing keys, otherwise, they’ll need to cut support for older Android versions, and therefore users with older tech. “Maybe we should just tell users to buy new TVs?” VideoLAN wrote.

For the Windows Store version, VideoLAN claims that Microsoft refuses to help.

What VideoLAN is talking about here is also in no small part about support grandfathering, hence the nod to Apple’s remaining iOS 9 support. After a while, hardware and software developers eventually drop both feature and security updates for their older operating systems, as they also do for their older devices. For example, Windows 10 is set to drop security updates in late 2025, and has already lost feature updates, with Microsoft turned to Windows 11 instead.

This means that, naturally, third-party app developers have to come along for the journey as well, as users are encouraged to move to more updated tech. For software like VLC Media Player, that’s quite alarming – it means that, at the moment, VideoLAN could risk cutting off some of its app store-reliant users simply by updating its app.

VLC’s whole deal is accessibility. An open-source application that’s free for all to use, VLC is seriously still compatible with versions of Windows as old as 95.

As for VLC on the Mac app store? Well, while Mac users can download the application from the VideoLAN website, the company claims that store restrictions prevent VLC from entering the official app store.

This sucks, frankly. VideoLAN provides one of the best open-source applications in the world across several operating systems, and because of stringent requirements from much larger companies, they’re unable to provide an update for all of their users.

Hopefully, Microsoft and Google will alter their policies to allow VLC updates once again.

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