Monday, July 18, 2011

Apple Introduces New Volume Purchasing Program for Businesses

Apple announced this week that it will be allowing businesses to begin purchasing iOS apps in bulk. Apple has not yet revealed a launch date for the new Volume Purchase Program (VPP) for the App Store, but its website says that it is “coming soon.”

"Streamline your purchasing process and put more power and productivity in the hands of your workforce," Apple says on the VPP page. "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."

The new Volume Purchase Program is an extension of a program that Apple already offers that allows educational institutions to purchase apps in bulk. “Any business in the US can participate in the Volume Purchasing Program,” the website states. It continues saying that to enroll in the program, all a business has to do is create a volume purchasing account with Apple. To enroll, one needs basic contact information to verify your business, a Dun & Bradstreet (D-U-N-S) number and a corporate credit card or PCard to purchase the apps with.

Now it is important to note that any of the apps that businesses purchase through this program are processed differently than normal apps which are processed through iTunes. These bulk purchases will be processed directly through VPP. Also, one disappointment would be that while educational institutions get a discount when they purchase apps in bulk, businesses will be receiving them at the regular price. Once a business has purchased apps through the Volume Purchase Program, they will be able to distribute the apps to their employees by using redemption codes.

“The website also discusses how businesses will be able to utilize custom B2B (business to business) apps. Custom B2B apps are built just for you by third-party developers and business partners to address a specific business process, integrate with a unique back-office environment, or deliver a custom interface for your users. Using the Volume Purchase Program, you can securely and privately purchase custom B2B apps for iPhone and iPad that make your business even more effective. If you are a developer who is enrolled in the iOS Developer program, you can create custom B2B apps for sale to your customers enrolled in the Volume Purchase Program.”

It sounds like there will be plenty of great things that businesses will be able to do with this new program. It is just unfortunate for businesses that they do not get a discount like educational institutions do.

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