Apple retail employees have spilled the beans on some recent meetings going on within the company regarding a new service targeted at small businesses. The new service is called JointVenture, and it‚Äôs going to make it easier for their small business customers in the one to ten employee range to get the support they need when they need it.
Unfortunately, this means very little to consumers who don‚Äôt run small businesses. Still, it‚Äôs an interesting way to tap into those little startups that don‚Äôt have the resources for an IT department and the expenses that come with maintaining various computers and servers.
Just what will these small businesses get with Apple‚Äôs JointVenture? Let‚Äôs break things down:
1) $499 for up to Five Users and an Additional $99 for Each Additional User/Yearly
Again, this service is targeted at the small businesses. Five users can get in for $500. Additional users are an extra $100, in addition to the three year Apple Care plan. It‚Äôs probably more than the average user needs to pay, but business owners may find it worth the investment.
2) Priority at Genius Bars and Apple Store
That $500 a year had better be worth something, right? That‚Äôs right. They will get priority when it comes to waiting in line at the Genius Bar at Apple retail locations. Anyone who has been at the Apple Store knows that waiting in line for the Genius Bar can be a bit of a pain (especially if you own a Power Mac G5 or Mac Pro). You sign in, watch the screen and hope that your name quickly moves up the line. Not if you run a small business and sign up for JointVenture. Just walk on in there, sign in and have your name jump to the front. Of course this probably comes in handy when you have a business with five computers or more.
3) Phone Support Line Manned by Geniuses
How about when you need support with an issue that either requires immediate assistance, or service within the office? They have set up a Genius support line for that. Basically, those who need help can get it when they need it where they need it.
4) Loaner Computers if Repairs Last Longer Than 24-hours
This is a nice one. If a user has to send in their computer for repairs, they will get a loaner, a 15-inch MacBook Pro so that they can get their work done while their computer is being fixed. This is a great answer for those times when you have to send in your computer but you absolutely need it for work. One question we do have is how they handle anything the user may need that‚Äôs stuck within their personal computer. Perhaps they can transfer files if needed. Oh well, something‚Äôs better than nothing.
5) Training Workshops
Training workshops cover everything from starting out to the much more advanced business software and help with Exchange servers. This sounds similar to the classes Apple Stores will offer on basic video editing and photo editing at their stores, but with business users in mind.
Going for the Little Guys
This can really help the smaller companies take off, and Apple seems to want to be there. Perhaps it‚Äôs to build a lasting relationship with a growing company, or even to target the App developers, that often consist of teams smaller than 10. Our guess is that it really helps out the small businesses but keeps Apple in good standing with them, ensuring that they keep coming back to them for all their computer and networking needs.