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Apple Sweetens the Pie for Small Business

Apple's new technical support plan for small businesses may play second fiddle to the roll-out of the second generation iPad March 2, but it still should be a tasty dish for small companies.  For some businesses weighing a switch to Apple products, it could be a tipping point.

Joint Venture customers will receive priority service at Apple Genius Bar (a technical support station located inside Apple's retail stores) and have access to an exclusive Apple Genius-staffed technical support number of the corporate office, the site Appleinsider reported. Like Apple’s ProCare service plan, customers will be first in line for repairs under Joint Venture. The plan is targeted at small businesses.

The service, which will cost around $500 a year, will cover up to five systems and will be available to businesses when they purchase a new Mac. Additional systems can be added for $99 a year.

If repairs take longer than 24 hours, customers may be eligible to borrow 15-inch MacBook Pros with iWork and Microsoft Office installed.

The tagline for the service is rumored to be “Get Setup. Get Trained. Keep Running.” A key selling point of the service will be the option to have Apple Genius Technicians install and configure Microsoft Exchange during setup.

Small businesses that sign up for Joint Venture will also be available to take advantage of personal setup data transfer , limited group training sessions and access to a website to schedule phone support appointments.

As Apple gains market share in all areas, it’s stepping up its efforts to attract and win over the business user. Joint Venture is its latest foray into the corporate world.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.