updated 11:50 am EDT, Sat June 18, 2011
Lion in biz, school supports mass deployment
Apple handled a longstanding question of how Mac OS X Lion's download-only nature would translate to large-scale licenses for business and education on Friday with a document (below) explaining the strategy. The company will give business users bulk licenses at the same $30 price with at least 20 users. Schools will have to pay for a $39 Apple Software Collection bundle in batches of 25 but will get both iLife and iWork in the pack.
Corporate buyers will also have an optional $50 per person maintenance contract to get extra support. The guide confirms suspicions that Lion Server is an upgrade option from the Mac App Store that has to be bought along with the core OS.
The volume licensing will work much as it has with disc-based versions, just with a download-only file, Apple said. Just one redemption code will be handed out to business and educational customers, but they will get a Lion installer file they can then copy to other systems. It will still work through NetInstall or NetRestore when pushed out from a Mac running Lion Server.
Anyone who bought a Mac on or after the June 6 WWDC keynote, including individuals, qualifies for a Lion Up-to-Date program. The buyer has to claim the upgrade within 30 days of buying the Mac. It's not clear if this will include physical media or a Mac App Store redemption code.
The challenge of getting the OS in mass deployment is relatively unique for Apple. Microsoft offers downloadable copies of Windows 7 but intends it primarily for individuals with netbooks or other optical-free notebooks rather than wide-scale installs. Apple is helped by having relatively little copy protection, which saves the activation and other registration issues that affect Windows users.