updated 02:55 am EDT, Thu July 14, 2011
Provides a new channel for custom B2B apps also
Apple is expanding the App Store in the near future to handle volume app purchasing, using redemption codes to allow for easy distribution of apps within a corporate environment, and is providing an all-new private channel for companies to purchase custom B2B apps not available to the general public. Businesses must create a volume-purchase account with Apple.
Businesses can set up a corporate account by providing basic contact info, a Dun & Bradstreet business identification number, and a corporate credit card or PCard for purchasing. The program applies only to paid apps -- free apps can be downloaded directly by users.
The volume licensing web page allows customers to browse for business-oriented and other apps, specify the quantity desired, and complete the transaction using the credit card. Apps are sold at the same price as in the regular App Store, and the buyer receives redemption codes that can be distributed on an internal website or via e-mail. Companies can also use third-party Mobile Device Management (MDM) software to control distribution. A spreadsheet history of purchases and redemption codes is always available.
Third-party developers and business partners who are enrolled in the iOS Developer program can build custom B2B apps which corporate customers can then buy securely without the app ever appearing on the regular App Store. Businesses must create a special Apple ID that is not used for iTunes or other Apple services, and is only used for the volume purchasing program.
Customers who want to purchase custom B2B apps will get in touch with the developer on their own, who will create the app and use the Volume Purchasing program to review the app (business apps get the same review process as other apps) and handle the transactions. Custom B2B apps must sell for a minimum of $10 per copy.
The Volume Purchasing Program website also serves as a search engine for business-oriented apps, allowing customers to quickly find apps for their enterprise without having to wade through listings for games or other consumer apps. A PDF guide is available for businesses and customers who want to learn more about the process.