The question is very simple as the topic suggests. (How) Can a company buy multiple "licenses" of publicly available apps on the App Store (for example paid Angry Birds app) and distribute those to its employees? Does the company get .ipa files directly from the developer (Rovio) and distribute them using the company's iOS Enterprise Developer program? I would say no, because Apple would be omitted in the transaction and in that case, what is the way?

The distribution would by handled by an application called Afaria (which is a client of Afaria Mobile Device Management solution) via its own App portal (more info in iTunes).

I've read about the Volume Purchase Program, however this is not a solution, because I'm in Europe.

If you need more information, please ask. For now, I can't think of more information I can provide.

  • Don't worry, as programming questions belong on Stack Overflow, not here :)
    – jtbandes
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 9:32
  • 2
    You seem to treat your employees very well, buying them angry birds :)
    – Jonathan.
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 9:36
  • jtbandes, I'll edit the question. I forgot to delete that part because I'm in a hurry a bit :) Commented May 16, 2012 at 9:42
  • No no no Jonathan, that would never happen in real life :) (and I have no employees just to be clear :)) ) Commented May 16, 2012 at 13:26
  • Is there anything we can do to help you select an answer to your question? Do the question or answers need to be edited or expanded?
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 20:11

3 Answers 3


I suppose I should begin with the caveats that

  • I do not live in Europe so I do not know how things might work there.
  • I do not own or manage a business. So also clueless there.
  • I have not personally ever bought anything other than free apps from the Apple App Store.

So, what I am saying is that I can not answer your question. But I also suffer from Y-chromosome induced Male Answer Syndrome, so I'll try to answer anyway.

Let's start with the assumption that Apple wants to sell you these apps. You just have to track down someone to help you either at Apple or at the company which sells this Afaria app you mentioned.

You do not mention which country in Europe you are in. But I assume there is an Apple web site either for that country or for your native language. I suggest you go to that web site and search there for information on a volume licensing program.

For example, I tried looking at http://www.apple.com/uk/ and searched for volume license.

That search turned up this link: http://www.apple.com/uk/mac/volume-licensing/

Now the page that link took me too appears to apply to volume licensing only for the OS X Lion operating system. Still, the people involved would at least know something about Apple's Volume License process. So, if you were in the UK I would suggest you contact them and start a conversation.

Even if they can't help you they could still probably point you towards other Apple people who might be able to help you.

I suggest you try something like that with the Apple web site which targets your region in Europe.

I realize this would be a tedious and frustrating process. And I hope someone else provides a better answer to your question here. But unless they do, I think your best chance of solving your problem is to start working you way through people at Apple who would want to sell you something help you.


The most important thing is to reach out to your Apple sales contact to ask them to walk over the options for you. Each retail store has business staff that is trained to help you explore this sort of options. If you are looking at hundreds of apps then that means hundreds of devices and you surely will get more help than here. Furthermore, the rules for group purchase are different in each country and you can be sure Apple is polling it's business team to see which country has the most demand to grow volume purchase in the future.

Depending on your needs, you can use a MDM server like the Casper Suite from JAMF to manage things including app deployment, but it's something that most organizations pilot with a few employees and then come up with training so each employee can manage their apps themselves. Unless you have other needs to tightly control things - getting a MDM solution costs more money than most organizations will spend and you can easily have employees self manage this once you learn how deployment works (and doesn't work).

The Apple Configurator is worth looking at if you truly have a need to set up each device and work with buying a license for each account and have one Mac set things up for you.


A late answer: iTunes Gift Cards. Before we started to use Caspar's JSS and related software to make our catalog of apps available to faculty, we'd give them iTunes Gift Cards to purchase the apps they needed.

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