updated 09:00 pm EDT, Wed July 20, 2011
Uses redemption codes for mass installs
Less than a week after quietly setting up a special section on its web site for volume app purchasing, today the company took the project live, allowing businesses to set up a corporate account and use redemption codes rather than mass downloads to allow for easy distribution of apps -- in addition to setting up a private channel for companies to arrange and buy custom B2B apps not otherwise available.
The program, which only applies to paid apps, requires a Dun & Bradstreet business identification number and corporate credit card or PCard for purchasing from customers. The page allows business employees 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 via the account history.
The program also facilitates contacts between business partners and third-party developers to build custom B2B apps, which corporate customers can then buy securely without the app appearing on the regular iOS App Store. Businesses must create a separate Apple ID that is not used for iTunes or other Apple Services and is only used for the volume purchasing program. Custom B2B apps must sell for a minimum of $10 per copy. The businesses themselves are responsible for contacting the developer, who then creates the app and submits it for review (using the same process Apple gives to consumer apps). Apple then handles the fulfillment and transaction, receiving its normal 30 percent cut of the sale price.
The page also serves as a search engine oriented around business apps, enabling clients to quickly find relevant apps without having to wade through listings for games and other consumer apps, though customers can also search for non-business apps if desired. A PDF guide is available for businesses that want to know more about the process.