Business Licensing for Omni’s iOS Apps

by Ken Case on October 29, 2018

We’re working on making it easier for businesses, schools, and other organizations to license and deploy our iOS apps.

In 2016, we started switching our apps over to free downloads with in-app purchases. This solved a lot of problems for consumers who purchase our apps through the App Store, by enabling free trials, upgrade discounts, and free upgrades for recent purchases. Unfortunately, switching to in-app purchases made it much more difficult for businesses and schools to purchase our apps through the App Store, since Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (which lets organizations purchase apps) doesn’t support in-app purchases.

For the last few years, we’ve been working around this limitation on Mac by simply avoiding the App Store for sales to businesses and other organizations. Our apps all predate the Mac App Store, so customers have always had the option of purchasing and downloading those apps directly from us with options for volume and educational discounts. But our iOS apps are exclusively distributed through the App Store, and until now the only way to unlock our iOS apps has been to use in-app purchases.

Looking around at how other people have solved this problem, one of the better approaches is to offer a single sign-on based licensing solution. (This is an approach Microsoft supports for licensing Office 365, for example.) The idea is that an organization will purchase licenses for use by a team, and the app will offer to let team members sign in with a set of credentials which will be verified by that organization using their single sign-on server. This lets the organization be responsible for purchasing and distributing their team’s licenses—including redistributing licenses when appropriate.

We’re currently working with some of our large enterprise customers to make sure this solution works for them—and we would love to hear from any other businesses or schools who might be interested in licensing our iOS apps so we can make sure this approach will work for you as well.

So if you work for a business or school that might be interested in purchasing the iOS edition of any of our apps (OmniGraffle, OmniPlan, OmniFocus, or OmniOutliner), please get in touch! Our solution to this problem isn’t finalized yet, and we’d love to work with you to make sure that we solve this in a way that will work for you. You can reach us by emailing sales@omnigroup.com or by calling 800-315-OMNI (or +1 206 523-4152)—and you’re welcome to cc me directly, at kc@omnigroup.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!