VPP 2.0 & “A Question Of Morality”


Back in November last year, I posted some observations VPP 2.0, Mavericks, iLife ’13 & iWork ’13 which highlighted some of the technical difficulties with this new approach.

However, taking a step back we realised that we were going to struggle with licensing the software.

After several discussions with various Apple employees we came to a solution, which was summarised by the Apple employee as “a question of morality.”

So how did the conversations get to that point? Well, let me explain..

If you head over to http://www.pentland.com/contact-us.html you will see that we have a global presence, & whilst we do not have Macs in every office (I’m working on it ok!), we do have Macs in the UK, US & Hong Kong.

This itself gives a headache when it comes to VPP as currently VPP is only available in the below countries;


Another thing we needed to consider was how many VPP accounts we wanted, you should have one per country that has VPP available.. which means our 200 seat licenses would be split across UK & US VPP accounts as well as some other mechanism for our Macs in Hong Kong.

During the discussions the Apple representatives pointed us to Addendum E in the iTunes Store Terms & Conditions.

You agree that your authorization is limited to purchasing Volume Content solely for use by Your Authorized End Users in accordance with the Terms. Solely as an accommodation to you, Apple agrees to permit you to use a single Content Code to sync an App Store Product to multiple devices, up to the number of codes you have purchased (instead of having to redeem a separate code), provided that you meet the following terms:
• You agree to sync no more copies than the number of codes you purchased.
• You agree that you shall be fully responsible for any use of and any loss or harm to Apple or third parties arising from the codes you purchased and/or sync.
• You agree to keep complete and accurate records of all uses of the codes you purchased.
• You understand that this accommodation may only be available for a limited period of time and Apple makes no guarantee regarding forward compatibility with future versions of iOS or the availability of this accommodation for new product versions.
• Apple shall have the right to request supplementary information and audit relevant records to confirm your compliance with these Terms.
Last updated November 4, 2013

As we centrally manage our Macs from the UK, & use Casper to track our licenses it was decided that the above & other terms meant that we found a compromise that would allow us as a company to be licensed & simplified the deployment.

So the steps we decided upon are below;

  • We enrolled in the UK under the VPP scheme & “purchased” 200 licenses for Mavericks & the iLife ’13 apps. (As we manage/control our global estate from the UK, we are using the licenses from the UK VPP for all our Macs).
  • Macs that are updated to 10.9 have the iLife ’09 suite uninstalled. (As leaving these installed post a Mavericks update will prompt the user to download the iLife ’13 copies from the App Store &, technically the only software on a company Mac should be licensed to the company that owns the Mac).
  • We then advise people to download the iLife ’13 suite from Self Service, these applications are licensed under a company Apple ID.
  • We then update these apps as a part of our weekly patching, this means that if someone installs their own licensed copies of the iLife suite.. we will uninstall & install our licensed copies. (This is done so we know we own the license & to stop us having an issue where apps that we support cannot be updated due to the AppleID’s owner leaving the company).
  • The iWork apps are deployed in a similar manner, but scoped to 2013+ Macs.

So the “question of morality” part has come about as technically, this can be seen as breaking Apples iTunes Terms & Conditions in some ways.. but also can be seen as us making inroads to follow them.

So it’s a bit of a grey area, but this compromise is something that seems like it may work for us. Maybe VPP 3.0 will have a global & not territorial model & then we can fully embrace it.

We are lucky as we have a legal entity in a country where VPP is available & so can enrol onto VPP as per the above, if not I’m uncertain as to how we could’ve proceeded.

2 thoughts on “VPP 2.0 & “A Question Of Morality”

  1. Interesting article. But a somewhat off-topic question. How are you tracking the licenses via Casper? Are you putting redemption codes in? Did you create a licensed software entry and just update it with the number of licenses purchased?

    • WordPress.com Support

      Hi John,

      We just use Smart Groups in the JSS.

      We have just under 200 clients, & we have 200 licenses on VPP. Anything 2013+ will be licensed itself.

      Simples. 🙂

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