Microsoft quietly launches, takes the ‘Genius Bar’ idea online

Microsoft quietly launches, takes the ‘Genius Bar’ idea online

Earlier today, and with no fanfare that we can find, Microsoft pushed live, a new ‘premium service’ from the company that aims to help consumers get their software sorted, and their brains trained.

According to Fusible, who first spotted the news, the site is so new that at the time of writing, no pages of it have been indexed by Google. And according to their report, “A password-protected site has been online for the past week, until earlier today when the official site was revealed.”

The service bills itself as Microsoft’s solution to “give you the most convenient, friendly and easy way to get the most out of your PC.  Answer Desk Answer Techs are trained to diagnose and troubleshoot your Microsoft software related issues,” noting that it will also “train you in Microsoft’s latest software, such as Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010.” In short, this is a service that neophytes can use to learn and get help at the times in which their grandchildren are not answering their cellphones.

Microsoft’s in-store service is called Answer Desk, so the naming of this webservice is hardly surprising. Answer Desk is usually compared to Apple’s Genius Bar, off of which it was modeled. The company claims that the staffers of the service are well-trained. It is not exactly cheap. One hour of ‘personal training’ will set you back $49. Virus removal will run you $99.

On the whole, we like the idea, but this is something that is likely will elict a cloud of jeers from the Mac community. Now, the question is how long this soft launch will last, and when Microsoft will decide to hit the ‘shout’ button over its newest service.

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