Apple is trying to make it easier for businesses to buy iOS applications for employees.
The company yesterday quietly introduced a new App Store volume purchase program for businesses. In short, it lets companies buy paid applications in bulk, while providing tools to distribute, and keep track of who has gone through with installation.
"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," Apple wrote in its introductory guide (PDF) about the new program.
The service has companies doing a search for paid applications or plugging in the direct link to an app from iTunes. Buyers can then pick out how many copies of an app they want (with no limit), which can be paid for all at once--even with a company credit card. When done, the buyer gets a spreadsheet with redemption codes, and a status notifier of whether the code has been taken.
The program does not apply to applications that are free, which Apple says can be downloaded by users on their own. Apple is also requiring that businesses that want to enroll are registered with the Dun & Bradstreet database, and have their nine-digit DUNS number.
Along with that program, Apple is also offering a way for businesses to sell customized business-to-business iOS apps in bulk using the same system. These apps, which have been customized for the buyer, are delivered the same way as public-facing apps (with redemption codes), and go through Apple's same app review process.
Apple is currently limiting the volume purchasing program to U.S.-based businesses, and says its rollout is "coming soon." The company makes no mention of whether a similar program is coming to the Mac App Store, which sells desktop applications for Apple's Mac OS.
The App Store volume purchase program joins Apple's iOS developer enterprise program, which gives large companies tools to build in-house iOS applications, then distribute them to employees without going through Apple's App Store. Apple also offers an App Store volume purchase program for educational institutions to buy iOS apps in volume, which it .