Mac App Store: Third-party apps green-lighted for volume purchasing

According to reports, Apple will soon expand to all Mac developers Cupertino's current Apple-centric volume purchasing plan for business and education customers.

Apple sent a memo to OS X developers telling that they will soon be able to participate in the currently Apple-only volume licensing plans for business and education customers.

It's called the Volume Purchase Program for Business and Education, according to 9to5Mac, which let sites purchase multiple copies at a discount. The software can be installed and managed through Apple's online Mac Store.

Here's part of the memo:

You may also offer a discount to educational institutions for multiple purchases. If you choose to offer a volume discount for an app, institutions that purchase 20 or more copies of that app in a single order will receive a 50-percent discount.

Your existing Mac apps will not be automatically enrolled in the discount for educational institutions. If you would like to offer your existing Mac apps at a discount for the Educational Volume Purchase Program, check “Discount for Educational Institutions” in the Rights and Pricing section of the Manage Your Apps module on iTunes Connect.

Currently, Apple supports volume licensing through its education and business stores. However, for businesses, such license contracts and maintenance agreements are available with a minimum quantity of 20 licenses.

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And the covered software currently are all Apple titles, some business-related (i.e., Keynote, Numbers, Pages) and many others aimed at the content-creation market (Aperture, Compressor, Final Cut Pro X, GarageBand, iMovie, iPhoto, Logic Pro, Main Stage, Motion). And Apple offers volume licenses for OS X and OS X Server.

With the current system, it's up to the customer how to deploy the software:

There are two ways to get the latest versions of Apple software to every Mac in your organization. You can download the applications you need from the Mac App Store and distribute them using the tools you’re already familiar with, such as Apple Remote Desktop or NetInstall. Or you can distribute redemption codes to your users, who can then download the software themselves from the Mac App Store.

Under the Mac App Store plan, users "redeem" the software with a special ID, password and redemption code. End users sign into the App Store with the company ID and then click Redeem in the Quick Links section, along with the code. The application is downloaded and installed in the Applications folder and updates are managed through the automatic Software Update module in the App Store software.

My take: This plan looks to make deployments very easy for small business and departments running Macs. The Mac App Store updating mechanism is understood by Mac users and everything is automatic. It's the very model of consumerization of IT.

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