Apple vs Android in the Enterprise

Ben Rubinstein benr_mc at
Sat Sep 17 17:59:27 EDT 2011

On 15/09/2011 23:51, Monte Goulding wrote:
 > My reading of it was your customer would need the enterprise license not you.

I can confirm that an Enterprise license doesn't let you distribute to your 
clients (not even test builds, which is what I wanted to do with it).  I 
recently applied for one, and at some point in the process had a ludicrous 
call from an Apple script-reciter; essentially this part of the application 
process required them to call me and ask who I wanted to distribute apps under 
this license to - "for example, colleagues, employees, customers, contractors, 
friends and family?"  It was a trick question - eg if you answered "friends 
and family" then they shoot you down!  I didn't understand the distinction 
between colleagues and employees (maybe this is a US/UK question) - but it 
turned out that again 'colleagues' would be the wrong answer.  You're only 
allowed to distribute apps under an enterprise license to employees and 

I explained that I wanted it for two reasons: to create apps for our 
employees, and when we're building apps for clients, so that we can distribute 
test versions to them without the hassle of getting their UDIDs into our 
ad-hoc builds.  The robot went off and checked several times, and eventually 
called back, with the answer that this was absolutely unacceptable.  I've gone 
through the rest of the process and been given permission to get one, but 
haven't actually given them the $300 yet because I think it's now a bit 
marginal whether it's worth it to us.

We're currently developing a bunch of apps for a client who now has their own 
enterprise license, so we're allowed to develop apps with that certificate for 
them (the apps we're building are for public sale through the app store, but 
the enterprise license has made the process of distributing test apps to them 
much easier, previously they were constantly sending us another exec's UDID 
and asking us to remake the test build).  We wanted our own enterprise license 
to make it easier to do the same for small clients.  No luck.

So if your client is really commissioning apps from you for the sole use of 
their employees: they need their own enterprise license.

You already know your DUNS number: a useful tip for any other (US) company who 
doesn't yet have (or know) theirs, is that it's probably already been assigned 
to you and you can find it out without paying $500.  Check Wikipedia for a 
handy trick.  Doesn't work for companies not registered in US.

On 16/09/2011 03:51, Monte Goulding wrote:
> I have seen one post that suggested an enterprise app can't even be  distributed to a supplier for a company. I have no idea how apple controls 
that though.

Per my conversation with the Apple employee, it appears that contractors can 
be covered - but I was focused on the issue about apps being developed for a 
company by outside contractors, so it's possible that it was only this case. 
As to how Apple controls it, my guess is that it's honor system, and that this 
is why they require a DUNS number (and use to require 500 employees) - they 
just work on the basis that if the company is a certain size, it complies with 
licenses.  (Although our client did say that the other main agency they're 
working with - massively bigger than us - had their own license and why 
couldn't we just do this... so I guess that theory may not work.)

As to why one would put up with this... well if they're commissioning you to 
develop apps, and (someone else?) mentioned a client buying tablets 
specifically to run their in-house apps, I'd guess the $300 is a pretty minor 
part of the cost.  (Though mind you it's $300/year - I trust the apps don't 
expire, but I don't know for sure.)

 From Apple's perspective, I assume the rationale for this cumbersome process 
is that in-house apps are a tiny part of the market, and what they _really_ 
don't want is to make it easy for devs to bypass the Apple store and sell apps 
to end users without giving Apple 30%.  They'd probably much rather not have 
this process at all, but felt they needed to give really big corporations a 
way to distribute in-house apps.  The process they've devised wouldn't bother 
companies with thousands of employees - it's only little guys like us and 
(some of?) our clients for whom it feels like a major PITA.  And probably 
Apple wouldn't really care anyway - as long as you're not selling the app to 
the public off your site, and depriving Apple of their 30%.

This is just one of the many ways in which Apple's process 
certification/iTunes connect process is really broken - or rather, is focused 
on a few cases, essentially big software devs, and tiny garage outfits.  In 
between isn't really catered for.  The whole arrangementof teams for example 
is ridiculous.  I have to have several apple ids, because in order to build 
things for one client, I had to be part of their 'team' - but one 'individual' 
can't be on several teams, so I have to use a different alias to be part of my 
company's team.  The 'team agent' role is almost impossible to change; so my 
company's team agent is one of my colleagues under his gmail address, because 
for some reason when he first set it up that was easier, and he didn't realise 
we'd be stuck with it.  The fact that there is no simple process to distribute 
test apps (which could happily expire) to clients is ridiculous.  The 
exclusion of clients from the enterprise program is more of the same.

It's as bad being on the customer side of the Mac (desktop) app store.  We've 
just started using an app that's only available through the store for a 
project.  My first colleague bought it on the company's iTunes account.  The 
second person went to do that, and it said you've already bought this, install 
it again.  The third person was told it was already installed, but it refused 
to let him download it again.  The fourth person was given another copy.  So 
we've got four people using it, but have only paid for one copy.  The app 
store won't let us pay for additional copies, which is what we should do and 
want to do.  Apple is apparently going to roll out a system shortly - for US 
companies only - to let a company buy multiple licenses: but this will go to 
inviduals.  So if I buy my book-keeper an accounting app, and she leaves, I'll 
have (in theory) to buy another one for her replacement!   I haven't yet 
worked out how we're supposed to pay for Lion upgrades for all our employees, 
so I've only let one person upgrade so far.  Again, I think this is just an 
example of Apple concentrating on their largest market (home/individual users) 
and not worrying if they haven't accounted for other cases - even substantial 

On 16/09/2011 03:32, Chipp Walters wrote:
 > I guess I'm a bit more of a capitalist, and rather let the free market
 > decide rather than have Apple anoint the winners and losers.

This is the free market.  Apple gets to decide how people work with their 
products.  Other phone manufacturers get to offer a different arrangement. 
Monopolies are part of the free market - placing limits on them is state 

Ben (who is constantly cursing Apple, but still finds the products generally 
superior to the competition, and suspects the two things may be related).

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