A much-loved entertainment company wrote last week, asking for forty copies of Bronson Watermarker, our PDF watermarking app for the Mac.
In the normal App Store (the one for iPhones and iPads), volume licensing is fairly straightforward. I assumed we could do the same thing for our Mac app.
Currently, there’s no way for us to do volume licensing through the Mac App Store. At first glance, that seems to be no big deal, since Mac apps (unlike iOS apps) don’t have to be installed through official channels.
We can just send them the app and save the 30% cut Apple would take.
That means we’ll have to roll our own serial number system. (Or more likely, just forego it.)
Without the Mac App Store’s update system, we’ll have to check for app updates another way. (Probably Sparkle.)
Under the next version of OS X (Mountain Lion), some users will choose the setting that only allows apps sold through the Mac App Store.
We may be left maintaining two (or more) versions of the app.
For this much-beloved entertainment company, we’ll go ahead and make a custom version of Bronson with an update system baked in. Hell, we’ll send it along with cupcakes, because these folks are great.
But we can’t do it for everyone. The costs and hassle are just too high. Apple’s volume licensing situation for third-party apps clearly needs to be fixed.