The B2B publishing was not exactly a big fan of the web back in the mid-nineties, not only hesitant to launch their own websites, but even more hesitant to help their customers with their own – fearing, of course, that their customers would depend more on the Internet in the future and less on those full page ads in their magazines. How did that work out for publishers?
Now the industry is making the same mistakes when it comes to mobile and tablets: hesitant to launch their own apps while watching as third party vendors invade their space offering B2B apps of their own.
Recognizing that in order for the App Store to serve as an effective market for B2B apps there has to be a volume discount available, Apple has today introduced a new program specifically designed for companies. The program is currently only available in the U.S., though one could assume that Apple would be more than happy to roll out the program elsewhere if things work out.
The App Store features thousands of great business apps designed to deliver immediate benefits for your company. With the App Store Volume Purchase Program, your business can tap into the potential of these world-class apps and offer a broad range of solutions for your employees to make them even more productive. Whether you’re purchasing apps for iPhone, iPad, or both, the Volume Purchase Program offers a simple and efficient method to purchase iOS apps from the App Store in volume for distribution within your organization.To enroll in the program all a business needs to do is to go to the Apple landing page and complete the form once Apple opens up the program – right now it is merely "coming soon". A company will simply have to supply Apple with contact information and the Dun & Bradstreet number associated with your company.
In addition to offering apps from the App Store, the Volume Purchase Program enables businesses to buy custom B2B apps developed for their unique needs. Businesses can work with third-party app developers and business partners to procure these custom B2B apps securely and privately through the program.
Once the program kicks off, a company representative would be able to have a company account where they can search for apps and then designate the total number of apps they want to buy. After the order is confirmed the customer will then get a redemption code from Apple good for the number of downloads along with a spreadsheet with the codes, as well as a link so users don't have to type in the URL or redemption codes in manually.
iOS developers who want to offer custom B2B apps will have to price their apps at $9.99 and above, but this shouldn't be much of a limitation if the apps are truly custom.
All new B2B custom apps will, of course, go through the same app review process, though one would hope that Apple would, in the future, make sure this is a somewhat separate, more more specialized app review team.
Those interested can download the PDF guide here.