Thursday, May 9, 2024

Why In-App Purchases Don’t Work for the Enterprise

Caleb Basinger:

We don’t buy apps through the App Store. Rather, we purchase licenses in bulk—one for every employee or device—through Apple’s Apps and Books program, part of Apple Business Manager and Apple School Manager.


The only problem is that Apps and Books doesn’t support in-app purchases or in-app subscriptions. That means we can’t access the features we need with the licenses we buy that way.


Without altering your existing app on the App Store, you could use the same code-base to create a second, fully paid premium version of it that includes all the features we need. You could add this premium version to the App Store alongside the one you sell now that has in-app purchases. This would make your app available to us to purchase in the Apps and Books store in large quantities.


If you’re concerned about potentially confusing buyers by having two similar apps on the App Store with different purchase models, there is another way: Using the same development and App Store process, you could make a custom app available only to specific organizations within the Apps and Books program.

Via Luc Vandal:

It’s kinda odd that on one end Apple is pushing devs to move to a subscription model but on the other end, that model is incompatible with Apple Business Management so schools or businesses cannot purchase your app unless you create a “pro” or custom version, which is just another thing to worry about.

It’s like one hand doesn’t talk to the other at Apple.

At the same time, it’s not that surprising when you see how much the MAS lacks compared to its iOS counterpart.

I sometimes get requests from businesses or schools but I already have 3 binaries to worry about (Mac, iOS, visionOS). Having 6 would be a lot of additional work and I just can’t imagine getting rejected and having to deal with all this.

Craig Hockenberry:

Volume licenses are one of the main reasons we have a download of xScope on our website in addition to the Mac App Store.

But, of course, that’s not possible with iOS apps.

Yannik Bloscheck:

Without Apple Business Essentials, which even now after many years after its original release is still only available in the US, companies still can't even increase the default 5 GB iCloud storage for their managed Apple IDs. So Apple is even really hurting their own direct services revenue with all of this, but despite that they still haven't come around to improving it.


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Bah! ABM is just a shitshow like Apple is a shitshow for everyone anything more than consumers. When inquiring last spring about ASM, Apple denied our school ASM and pointed us to ABM. Whatever. Then, for reasons that are not clear mostly because Apple isn't communicating (do they ever though?) volume app purchasing was pulled from Korea. No payment methods are allowed anymore. If you want to buy an app in your school or company you need to switch to unsupervised devices and go open enrollment. My ballpark guess is that it was pulled after the Korean government tried to force Apple to allow devs to use different stores or some shit. Apple lost the local turf war just like all outside tech companies do (you think your Apple or Google Maps sucks, dude, you have no idea how bad it can really get). Apple will only say "We are working on it. We will let you know."

Despite years and multiple segments on giving a shit about the education market, Apple does not care enough to make it "just work". They allow a byzantine backend process which is pretty much how they run the App Store. Layer upon layer of BS and vagueness.

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