It looks as though Apple may be in the process of removing anti-virus apps from the iOS App Store.

A number of virus scanners have been removed from the app store recently. One of the apps affected was VirusBarrier, whose developer, Intego, wrote in a blog post that the removal is part of a larger effort by Apple to eliminate anti-virus and anti-malware products from the App Store. From Intego:

Apple has elected to eliminate the category of anti-virus and anti-malware products from their iOS App Store. As a result of this decision, our product VirusBarrier iOS is no longer available for sale.

The reasoning behind the removal of anti-virus apps from the App Store appears to be an effort by Apple to stem concerns from users over whether their iOS devices are susceptible to viruses and malware. Intego CEO Jeff Erwin recently spoke to MacRumors about Apple's stated reason for VirusBarrier's removal:

According to Erwin, when Apple notified Intego of VirusBarrier's removal from the App Store, the company told him the app's App Store description was "misleading" and could potentially cause customers to believe that there are viruses on iOS.

Intego filed an appeal and rewrote the App Store description with "obnoxiously" clear wording, and that's when the company learned about a wider crackdown on anti-virus apps. "We were as clear as we could be that this wasn't a scanner, that it was scanning email attachments and cloud files," said Erwin. The company "went up to the executive level" at Apple and described exactly what VirusBarrier does, but Apple was firm on the app not returning to the App Store.

Apple has yet to release any official statement on the matter, but it would make sense that the company would want to negate any concerns over iOS' susceptibility to viruses and malware given the operating system's sandboxed environment.

Sources: Intego, MacRumors