Apple opens up the Volume Purchase Plan and B2B apps outside the US

Apple announced today that they are opening up the Volume Purchase Plan and Custom B2B apps for companies outside of the US.

Whether you’re providing apps to ten employees or ten thousand, the Volume Purchase Programme makes it simple to find, buy and distribute the apps your business needs.

The Volume Purchase Programme also provides a way to get custom B2B apps built by third-party developers to meet the unique needs of your business.

This is of special interest to me, as mobileAgent is quite popular with accountants who want to give it away to their customers, but up until now, I've not been able to do this without a full customized version. To my surprise, there wasn't even a way to buy 100 copies (as gift codes) of an app in one go - discounted price or not. You had to gift them one at a time!

So, if I'm reading this right, it means I can now offer either of these:

  1. mobileAgent, as it stands, with a special "bulk" price. An accountancy firm can buy 100 copies (and more if they need them), and give the codes to their customers as needed. If they run out, they just buy some more. The app is identical to the normal Appstore mobileAgent.
  • A bulk purchase of mobileAgent, the general appstore version, without having to hit the "gift" button 100 times.
  • A custom version of mobileAgent (Eg with your branding, icon etc), which is only for your customers. Unlike the general appstore (I have one custom version already available), there is no chance of the public getting hold of it, which makes the support burden a lot lower (ie, zero). Functionally, this is the same, but the colors, icon, name etc would be specific to your company.

The last option only really makes sense if you have rebranded FreeAgent a lot. If the customer knows it's FreeAgent, then the other 2 options are better (and a lot cheaper).

It appears for the various options above:

  1. This requires me to make a new product to sell as a Custom B2B app. I've not done this yet, but if you are interested, get in touch and we'll work out how to do it.
  • This requires me to do NOTHING. You sign up with the VPP store (you have to do this anyway) and buy the app. Easy.
  • This one requires a load of work on my part, and money and some art resources on yours. Get in touch if you want to go down this route.

So, if you are interested, drop me an email and have a read of the docs above. It should work for most businesses in the UK, but its very new, so expect a few teething problems initially.

Also, have a read of my recent post on iAgent, which covers the state of mobileAgent, too.

I should also add there is a new version of mobileAgent coming shortly. It's with Apple for approval now but with the rush before iOS6 comes out, they are being a bit slower than before.

Nic Wise

Nic Wise

Auckland, NZ