Monday, July 18, 2011

App Store Volume Purchases

Apple announced the App Store Volume Purchase program for businesses. This is great, as it's something that is a hindrance to use of apps in the enterprise and even for organizations like ours.

However, the announcement, as with many business-centric announcements lately, provides more questions than answers. If I read it right, it means that I can buy as many copies of an app as I want and I will get redemption codes for those apps. That's good, but as soon as the employee redeems the code they own the app, not the business.

While not a big deal if you are buying everyone Angry Birds or MPG, it becomes a much bigger deal with more expensive apps. What if you need multiple copies of iRa pro for your facilities team? At $900 each, is that a taxable benefit to the employee? Even though it's useless when they are not at their job? What about other expensive apps, or if you buy a large quantity of apps that can be used outside your current place of employment?

This also makes no mention of the Mac OSX app store, which is problematic. The original announcement on how volume licensing would work for mac app store purchases was underwhelming. For example, a 20 copy minimum. Fine for Lion, not so great for Final Cut Studio...

Furthermore, using redemption codes is cool, but creates another batch of issues. What if I buy 100 copies of something, and a user sends that redemption code onto his friend who posts it on facebook. Within minutes all of my licenses have been used and the company is out the money...

As I said, more questions than answers. I'm just grateful that Apple is trying to tackle this stuff to make the iOS and Mac App Store more business friendly.


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