Amongst Apple’s slew of announcements at the Back to Mac Conference one garnered less attention than it should have. Apple’s news that starting January 6th the App Store will offer OS X software downloads is not to be ignored. This is in addition to its already long list of iOS apps by Apple and third party developers featured in the store. The store opening will change how Mac users experience OS X and how businesses manage employee software and licensing.
Simply put, the new Mac App Store will be an all-in-one portal for Mac users to browse, download, and update software. How this translates into workflow for businesses is not as simple however. One issue is license management. How will companies manage end-user App Store accounts and ensure company-wide application updates? Along with licensing concerns arises the issue of budgeting and IT cost management. The App Store, while convenient, does not offer Enterprise pricing. Demand will be high for employees to access the store – especially if they’ve experienced the ease of the iOS App Store on iPads and iPhones. Purchasing through individual accounts will be difficult to monitor and application prices difficult to budget. But the simplicity of the iOS experience on iPhones won’t transfer to the Mac App Store for businesses and it won’t relieve the headache that many IT directors will experience.