VirusBarrier removed from App Store
Published March 10th, 2014 at 8:24 AM EDT , modified March 10th, 2014 at 8:24 AM EDT
Intego’s VirusBarrier Express has been my favorite malware scanner for manual scans for some time. It was from the App Store, so I could be sure it wasn’t installing components in the system anywhere, and it had truly excellent detection rates for Mac malware. I recommended it frequently. So I was shocked and dismayed to find that both it and the paid VirusBarrier Plus were quietly removed from the Mac App Store last week!
A colleague forwarded an e-mail from an Intego representative to me, giving the following as their official position on this matter:
Because of limitations placed on applications in the Mac App store by Apple, it is not possible to provide a virus scanning tool that provides the capability Mac users expect in such a utility. These limitations have resulted in a very large number of negative reviews on our Mac App Store products as consumers place the blame on Intego for the limitations. We feel that if we cannot meet user expectations in a product because of the App Store limitations, we should not offer that product through that channel.
We will be replacing the applications with a new set of security and performance applications in the near future that work extremely well within the App Store limitations.
Current users of the Intego applications will continue to receive virus definition updates as they always have.
This is truly unfortunate news, as it would seem to indicate that this is a decision that will not change as long as the App Store continues to place the restrictions it does on apps, and I don’t see Apple changing those restrictions at any point. It’s really too bad, but having seen the reviews of VirusBarrier Express that were posted on the App Store, I can completely understand how they would be upsetting to Intego.
I had read many of the reviews for VirusBarrier Express on the App Store as much as a year ago, and had posted my own review as an attempt to counter them. Many of those reviews were simply made through ignorance, by people who expected too much and had no understanding of App Store limitations. Other reviews, however, seemed deliberately malicious, filled with outright misinformation, and seemed like they could only have been posted with the express purpose of downgrading the ratings of the product.
It’s very injudicious, but that is a fairly common attitude in the Mac community. “Knowledgeable” Mac users seem to almost take it as an insult that someone may suggest that malware exists, some even denying that malware exists at all. Even those who do understand and accept that malware exists may have an unreasoningly contemptuous attitude for all anti-virus software. Such people will do whatever they can to hurt anti-virus companies, bad-mouthing them in public forums or user review sites whenever possible.
My biggest disappointment, though, does not involve the people who carry out such smear campaigns. I am greatly displeased that Intego folded under this pressure. So much so that I wonder if there’s not more going on here than their official statement reveals. After all, on sites featuring user reviews, like MacUpdate, the full version of VirusBarrier also has a number of detractors placing blame on Intego for problems. As I’ve pointed out, this is pretty much a constant issue with any anti-virus software on the Mac, and not a good reason for discontinuing a product. As a Mac-specific company, I would expect Intego to be aware of this.
Regardless of the causes, however, it looks like we will have to simply learn to do without VirusBarrier Express and VirusBarrier Plus. Dr. Web Light has now supplanted VirusBarrier as my top recommendation for manual scanning. It was a little behind VirusBarrier Express in detections in my testing, but is far ahead of everything else.