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Apple Introduces Volume App Purchasing for Business and B2B Apps


Alongside today's international App Store pricing changes, Apple has introduced a new Volume Purchase program for the App Store. According to Apple, the App Store Volume Purchase Program allows businesses and educational institutions in the U.S. to purchase apps in volume and distribute them within their organizations.
Streamline your purchasing process and put more power and productivity in the hands of your workforce. Every paid app in the App Store is available for businesses to buy in volume through the program website. Simply search for the apps you need, enter the quantity you want to buy, and complete the transaction with your corporate credit card. Apps are available for purchase at the same price listed in the App Store.
Apple had previously offered volume sales for educational institutions and is extending this to businesses. Business and Educational institutions will need to enroll in the program in order to participate.

Separately, Apple is also allowing businesses to sell and distribute custom business-to-business (B2B) apps for business customers. These custom B2B apps can be developed for specific needs and distributed to businesses through the same App Store mechanism. This allows third-party developers to produce custom deployments of apps specifically designed for clients that are using iOS devices.

Update: Apple's webpage for App Store Volume purchasing is now live and provides addition information and says it's "Coming Soon":
Whether you’re providing apps to two employees or ten thousand, the Volume Purchase Program makes it simple to find, buy, and distribute the apps your business needs.

The Volume Purchase Program also provides a way to purchase custom B2B apps built by third-party developers to meet the unique needs of your business.

The Volume Purchase Program for Business is coming soon to businesses in the United States.

Top Rated Comments

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40 months ago
They already allow you to install an unlimited number of copies on "all of your Macs" with an AppleID, so if you have like 100 Macs, you can install the apps on all of your computers with one app purchase (already this is the rule). So I don't see the point of this. Apple just wants your money (if you fall for this trap)
Rating: 7 Votes
40 months ago
This is not new. Apple created a volume purchasing program for education months ago. Purchasing the apps is only half the problem. The bigger part, especially for state schools who spend tax payer money is who ends up owning the license.

When you buy a bulk package of apps what you get is a list of vouchers you send to which ever users/employees you want. They use a normal unmanaged consumer iTunes/app store account to redeem the app and then it belongs to them. When they quite or get fired the university has to buy the app or distribute another voucher for the replacement employee while the exiting employee keeps all the applications the company or school paid for.

I'm a fan boy and will defend and praise apple for a lot of stuff. But that they haven't even acknowledged this problem is really disappointing and frustrating.
Rating: 5 Votes
40 months ago

They already allow you to install an unlimited number of copies on "all of your Macs" with an AppleID, so if you have like 100 Macs, you can install the apps on all of your computers with one app purchase (already this is the rule). So I don't see the point of this. Apple just wants your money (if you fall for this trap)


This is for businesses, and education. Those two entities cannot do what you are suggesting.
Rating: 4 Votes
40 months ago

MacRumors seems to consistently rush stories out without even a cursory check for typos. Seldom is there an imperative to release information so quickly that checking and editing it first is unwarranted.


I'm willing to accept a "rough" first draft posted at the time news breaks with a follow up edit for clarity. This is the internet, not a novel.

--

On the news story itself, the second part of the post unveils the custom B2B program with lets developers have custom versions of Apps for large customers. In addition to corporate branding/logos, you might even see custom functionality per customer. This is also very big news -- and very different than the approach other players in the space have taken.

Apple continues to push the envelope in the App Store space. I see a lot of potential for custom spins of business apps sold in volume.
Rating: 3 Votes
40 months ago
I'd like to see a master account that could reclaim an app distributed with a voucher. That way the school or business doesn't have to buy apps for specific employees but instead for positions and/or functions. When the master account reclaims an app then it should automatically be removed from the device or computer. In the case of the OS the computer should become locked to all logins except when authorized with the master account's appleid.
Rating: 3 Votes
40 months ago

Apple is well beyond capable of doing things that are not easy. I don't think any lawyer or developer would describe the iTunes Match program as "easy". Also, I think the application developers would be much more agreeable to this type of thing. Businesses have become used to buying a piece of software that they control. When making the decision to dismiss an employee it has never entered my mind how much software we have invested in them, unless we get some more control over installation and ownership that is gonna become a factor in the process.

Granted most developers give you another avenue to purchase software from them. But what about Lion, Pages, Keynote, FCP, Motion, Aperture, and all of Apple's other great titles. It looks like Apple won't be sailing boxed copies soon. They don't need to create a license agreement with a third party to create that kind of functionality with there own titles. I'd be fine if there were an opt-in option for developers to participate. It'd be easy for us to lobby developers to opt-in.



With the exception of a handful apps everything we use is available in the public app store. Example: We have instructional designers who may move into administrative positions. It would be nice not to buy another copy of FCP for the new designer when someone gets promoted.

The biggest issue for us (State School) is that we are in line to spend large amounts of money on applications that will belong to the employee and not the State. We don't have a massive turnover problem but it's significant enough to create concern. As a taxpayer that is a real problem for me. Does the employee have to claim those purchases as part of the compensation package, do they need to pay income tax on the amount? Etc...

Like i said in an earlier post. We have lawyers looking into it, but i'd rather pay developers and Apple (i'm a share holder :)) than the lawyers.


I cannot disagree with your points, your motives and your business needs, but Apple has effectively taken the normal seat licensing that comes along with regular desktop software out of our hands on the mobile level, and now they are beginning to do the same on the desktop level.

On the desktop the employee leaves, the company/institution owns the machine it stays, and the software license remains with the company - as it should. But, nine times out of ten the clients we deal with don't own the phones, tablets or laptops of their employees - they just allow them to coexist in their infrastructure. This seems to be the case with the educational institution you work for.

There to me lies the problem and the only solution I see to that would be an addition to the volume purchasing program to revoke the application privileges for devices that are no longer members of the organization/company. As someone who does this for a living I can respect that as revocation on one device allows for the license to be used on a different device/new employee, but I do not believe Apple even has close to the infrastructure it would take to handle that for their regular business/education consumers who are not enterprise developers themselves/using their own internal applications. We are more than capable of doing this on an internal level with our application we create ourselves because we are able to manage their deployment ourselves. You're in a cumbersome position.

In terms of the general Mac App Store for desktop applications I can only give you my advice as someone who builds software for enterprises and that is stay away from it. It isn't tailored at all to the needs of businesses/education in terms of what is required for purchasing seats of software and you're always going to be better off going straight to the developer in terms of licensing. You are in effect making a license agreement with two parties at once upon purchase, Apple and the development company. Unless of course as in what you mentioned before (FCP) that's directly from Apple to begin with.

The Mac App Store is also one gigantic crapshoot at this time. If they push the issue too hard and slowly start to cut off access to software by other means your school may be a Mac mobile shop, but you won't remain a Mac desktop shop. Love for a company slowly wanes when the cost to do business becomes cost ineffective and the business/institution loses too much control. Even someone who is invested in Apple should realize there is a tipping point for businesses/educational institutions.

You tax question is fairly simple. To even participate in volume purchasing you need a credit card tied to your school. You are in effect purchasing seats and therefore the tax liability and how you would amortize or write off those purchases is all in your favor. You're simply SOL at this time if the person leaving is taking the hardware with them as there is no revocation from afar for third party applications.

These things also should have been ironed out a long time ago with Apple's policies... but hey - what can you do?
Rating: 2 Votes
40 months ago
I'd like to buy more volume for my iPhone, I can barely hear anything with these earbuds.
Rating: 2 Votes
40 months ago
"Aside from the volume purchasing, they allows allow developers to set but educational discount pricing that is 50% off of list price when they purchase 20 or more copies of your app."

You might want to make some changes to the closing paragraph.
Rating: 2 Votes
40 months ago

MacRumors seems to consistently rush stories out without even a cursory check for typos. Seldom is there an imperative to release information so quickly that checking and editing it first is unwarranted.


Sorry for the typos.

- Devs can set apps to be discounted 50% for educational customers buying 20 or more apps
- It doesn't appear you can set arbitrary discounts
- It's only for educational customers.
- Devs have to opt in.

arn
Rating: 2 Votes
40 months ago

Finally.

Now I'd like to see multi-platform (iPhone, iPad, etc.) prices for an app at the same price. A rule, that is. None of this 0.99c for the iPhone version, $2.99 for the iPad.


I disagree with this. It makes complete sense for developers to have different pricing for iPhone and iPad apps. Most iPad apps offer more than the iPhone counterparts. That means more development work and they need to recoup the cost with a higher price.

Either you have to force iPhone app users to help fund those costs (in terms of higher prices for the iPhone app) or you are telling the developer they can't charge for their extra work in the iPad version (which will mean less unique features to take advantage of with the extra iPad real estate).

It is for the developer to decide how to price their apps and if they should make them universal or separate. That is capitalism and the best way to allow the pricing of individual apps to continue imho.
Rating: 2 Votes

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