In a move that's sure to make developers and IT heads happy, Apple will soon allow businesses to purchase apps in volume. Apple made the announcement tonight on its business page and through an email to registered developers. Not only will Apple allow business to buy ten or ten-thousand copies of a single app in one purchase, Apple will also allow a "way to purchase custom B2B (business-to-business) apps built by third-party developers to meet the unique needs of your business."
Apple has released an App Store Volume Purchase Program for Business guide (PDF) for businesses and developers interested in the new program. Businesses wishing to buy apps in volume must create a volume purchasing account with Apple. Once enrolled, they can go to the program's website to purchase apps (in case you missed it, this means they aren't using the App Store in iTunes). Right now the volume purchase plan is only available in the US, and there's no limit to the number of apps nor the quantity of a particular app a business can buy. Businesses can complete purchases with a corporate credit card or procurement card. Free apps are excluded, which means employees will have to individually download those apps from their personal iTunes App Store accounts.