SharePoint 2013 App Marketplace – Licensing

Several community comments and a couple of blog posts speculate that SharePoint 15 will have an App store of sorts. Although everything is speculation at this point, there’s clear evidence now that Microsoft will include such an ‘app store’, referred to by Microsoft as “The Marketplace”.

You probably know that Microsoft released literally thousands of pages of documentation on SharePoint 15 (or SharePoint 2013, as I believe it will be called). Most comprehensive is the less intelligible open specification documentation, although that’s also where the good bits are.

You probably also know that I’m highly focused on learning what’s new on any new SharePoint version and that I write a USP Journal series that details this research and the findings. In the first issue, now freely available to members of the USP Journal mailing list, I wrote about the new App store.

You can read more about the series on the SharePoint 2013 Beta series webpage.

Here’s the second part of what I wrote about the new App Marketplace:


Microsoft will also add support for licensing of the application packages that developers deploy. What this means is that vendors or even regular folks can put a price on their application and sell it through the marketplace.

The first clue to this is a method attached to the SPWebApplication class called IsUserLicensedForEntity.

Note: Apparently, licensing can also be turned off, which could mean that either no applications requiring licenses will be installed or that the application developer has not set a license at all (in other words freeware).

However, there’s much more information in the protocol documentation, specifically in the MS-APPMD document (or SharePoint App Management Database Protocol Specification if you insist on the full name).

That document says that there are four license types that you can add to your package:

  • PerpetualMultiUser marketplace license type.
  • PerpetualAllUsers marketplace license type.
  • TrialMultiUser marketplace license type.
  • TrialAllUsers marketplace license type.

In addition to these license types, there’s also something called an OMEXLicenseType, but the description doesn’t clarify what the purpose of this license type is:

“The commercial type of the marketplace license, used for commercial purposes and stored in the protocol server.”

From the documentation, it does not seem like this is an alternative license type to the perpetual or trial licenses, but something that is added on to every license, regardless of license type.

The ‘protocol server’, by the way, is the SharePoint server. Wonder why they can’t just call it that.

The model also defines a license director who is a person (or maybe group) who are allowed to assign licenses to users. For example, a company may buy 10 user licenses for a product, but have 50 active users. The license director will be able to select which of those users get access to the product.

Licenses can also be timed so that they expire after a certain time. The expiration applies only to trial licenses, so perpetual licenses aren’t affected (duh).

This article is an excerpt from the first issue of the USP Journal  SharePoint 2013 Beta series. The issue contains more on the SharePoint App Marketplace as well as additional information, comments, news, and rumors. You can get the first issue free of charge on the issue web page.

Combined, this mini-series comprise only the content related to SharePoint Apps from the first issue. Later issues, included in the subscription, contain even more information, both on SharePoint Apps and other new features.


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Bjørn Furuknap

I previously did SharePoint. These days, I try new things to see where I can find the passion. If you have great ideas, cool projects, or is in general an awesome person, get in touch and we might find out together.