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Apple Offers Professional Services for Micro-SMBs

Apple's iPad 2 launch captured all the attention last week, but the Cupertino-ites also quietly launched a professional services package for micro-SMBs.

Whether it's a direct assault on Apple's existing partners and other VARs in the SMB space or a "rising tide lifts all boats" scenario is hotly debated among Apple's current partners. In any case, the offering, called JointVenture and formally launched Thursday, is somewhat similar to what Best Buy was doing a few years ago with its Geek Squad.

The JointVenture starter package goes for $499 with the purchase of a new Mac. The contract buys system setup, employee training and maintenance.

According to Apple's JointVenture Web site, Apple will transfer existing data from PCs or Macs to new devices. The $499 package includes support for up to five systems, including Mac, iPhone and iPad. The starting price includes up to three two-hour sessions of training at an Apple Store for employees. JointVenture also includes monthly group workshops for business professionals. Other features include a personalized JointVenture site for each customer, equipment checkups and device loaner programs. In the category of desktop support, Apple's site says (and we are not making this up), "For the first time ever, you can speak to an Apple Genius over the phone."

Whether Apple intended for that line to be funny or not, what about the whole lineup? For Microsoft partners who offer Apple products as well, what's your take? Is Apple cutting in on your business, or raising the business profile of the platform?

Posted by Scott Bekker on March 07, 2011 at 11:58 AM