Apple faces an uphill task convincing schools to adopt its Volume Purchase Program (http://www.apple.com/itunes/education/) because its closed, rigid app store environment make access and digital rights management a pain for schools’ IT administrators, industry watchers told “ZDNet” (http://www.zdnet.com/blog/apple/apple-introduces-volume-app-buying-program-for-schools/7930).
According to Apple, the Volume Purchase Program makes it easy for educational institutions to purchase iOS apps in volume and distribute those apps to users. The Volume Purchase Program also allows app developers to offer special pricing for purchases of 20 apps or more.
Volume Vouchers can be purchased at the Apple Store for Education in denominations of US$100, $500, $1000, $5000, $10,000. These vouchers can be bought on behalf of the educational institution by an Authorized Purchaser, and they may use purchase orders. The Authorized Purchaser is often a purchasing agent at the institution. Apple says you should receive your Volume Vouchers in the mail within 3-5 business days.
“ZDNet” says schools need to appoint an “authorized purchaser” to handle the procurement and management process. The role of purchaser is important as the person’s credit account will be used to buy vouchers, which will then be used to purchase apps in bulk. This adds another layer to the usual app buying process, where users just pay for their apps via their credit card instead of using vouchers, noted the report. Once the apps are bought, the purchaser will then receive a spreadsheet of activation codes from Apple to disburse to the students, the report stated.
However, Ryan Wuerch, chairman and CEO of Motricity, told “ZDNet” that this system is inherently flawed. He noted in an interview that the bulk buying program does not factor in the “complexities” of the education system in general, which include many layers of bureaucracy, and the integration of the mobile apps with institutions’ legacy IT systems. As a result, the smooth running of the schools’ IT systems would be complicated, he argued.
Compared to other more open app marketplaces, the education sector would find Apple’s walled-up App Store the “toughest” to navigate for their needs, Wuerch told “ZDNet.”