updated 09:27 pm EDT, Tue September 4, 2012
Aimed at business, institutional and volume sales
Apple's Volume Purchasing Program, which uses redemption codes to allow easy distribution of apps in corporate or institutional environments, is expanding beyond the US for the first time. The program, instituted just over a year ago, allows developers the opportunity to offer bulk an discounted volume prices on apps purchased by businesses, a common practice with traditional desktop software. The program also offers a private channel for purchasing custom B2B apps from developers.
The program is now being offered in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the UK as well as the US, but requires a corporate account in all countries. Businesses must create a volume-purchase account with Apple by providing basic contact info, a Dun & Bradstreet business identification number, and either a corporate credit card or PCard for purchasing. The program works only with paid apps, as free apps can be downloaded directly by users.
Participating developers can offer existing apps at bulk-purchase discounts, or offer to create custom applications for business clients that are part of the program. In addition to apps, e-books can also be offered for bulk purchase, potentially a boon for educational institutions. Volume purchases are considered to be 20 units of a particular app or e-book or more, and distribution can be handled via redemption codes or by the use of third-party Mobile Device Management software. A purchase history is also available in a downloadable spreadsheet form compatible.
Business apps, either existing or custom-made, get the same review process as normal apps through the App Store. The VPP page also offers a search engine for business apps so that customers do not have to sort through listings of games and consumer apps to find what they are looking for. A PDF guide is available for companies that would like to know more about the program.