Volume licensing and the App Store

Apple today posted a Q&A in response to the ongoing controversy surrounding Final Cut Pro X, and one of the the responses concerned the availability of volume licensing within the Mac App Store.

Can I purchase a volume license?

Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, and Compressor 4 Commercial and Education Volume Licensing will be available soon via the Apple Online Store for quantities of 20 or more. After purchasing, customers will receive redemption codes they can use to download the applications from the Mac App Store.

It's not clear to me if Apple intends to offer discounted volume licensing with Final Cut Pro X, or if they mean something similar to the existing App Store Volume Purchasing Program for educational institutions, which lowers management overhead but not price.

At WWDC 2011, Readdle spoke about customers who wanted to deploy their PDF Expert across their workforce, so their employees could easily sign documents while mobile. It's not hard to imagine a fleet of road worriers wanting to license turn-by-turn navigation apps in bulk either, or a school wanting a price-break on apps for their iPads, or a retailer for the point-of-sale iPod touches. And there doesn't seem to be an easy answer for that today.

If a reduced price could be paid in exchange for a batch of redemption codes, however, there are a lot of developers and purchasing departments alike who would probably appreciate that functionality. It would introduce a level of complexity to the App Store model, both for Apple and developers, and that alone might mean we're as unlikely to see it as we are upgrade pricing or real app demos. Like with upgrade pricing and demos, however, the overall value might more than make up for the cost.

(Aside: Apple's continued use of the Q&A mechanism to handle customer relations is clever. It worked well for the Location Data controversy; we'll see how well it works here. If nothing else, it immediately changes the dynamics of the conversation.)

[Apple Final Cut Pro X Q&A]