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New service "Joint Venture" will sell users Genius Bar work

Apple's retail profits are soaring, but the company isn't completely satisfied with its performance.  It's looking to move aggressively to try to beef up profits, and it's leveraging its Genius Bar to do that.  Genius Bar is Apple's in-store service center, which contains tech members similar to Best Buy's "Geek Squad".

According to Apple leaks site 9 to 5 Mac, Apple has been holding secret meetings this week at its Retail stores, prepping employees for the rollout and sale pitch on a new service, dubbed "Joint Venture".

Under the "Joint Venture" plan, customers would pay $499 USD per year for various Genius Bar perks for up to five machines.  Each additional machine would cost $99 USD extra a year (no discount, eh?).

Provided perks include Genius Bar remote call support and in-store priority access.  Another perk reportedly will be loaner 15-inch MacBook Pros during repairs which take longer than 24 hours.

For paying participants, Apple will reportedly hold special business-geared workshops looking at helping customers increase productivity.   These workshops will only be free to Joint Venture members.  Members will also receive free setup services for their business installation, including configuring Microsoft Exchange and transferring data from old machines.

While the service is more geared at business, it's possible that it may get some uptake among Mac-using families as well. 

The service will reportedly roll out March 2.

It was also recently revealed that part of Apple's retail plan is to subject its consultants to stricter monitoring and force them to work under an oversight company

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By NellyFromMA on 3/1/2011 10:51:13 AM , Rating: 2
LMAO amazing. No wonder Apple insists on avoiding the notion of Anti-Virus software altogether despite the security flaws even just previously noted in another DT article. Haha how does the consumer win in this scenario?

RE: wow!
By Denigrate on 3/1/2011 10:54:54 AM , Rating: 5
The consumer wins by NOT buying a Mac.

RE: wow!
By quiksilvr on 3/1/2011 4:13:39 PM , Rating: 2
It's the little victories in life that keep us going.

RE: wow!
By Sazabi19 on 3/1/11, Rating: 0
RE: wow!
By Motoman on 3/1/2011 11:25:32 AM , Rating: 5 the same way that all participants in the Special Olympics are "winners."

RE: wow!
By markuss232 on 3/1/2011 12:20:48 PM , Rating: 2
Trying really hard to decide if this should be rated up or down hahah

RE: wow!
By theapparition on 3/1/2011 11:18:13 AM , Rating: 3
Hey, magic just doesn't happen.

Jobs himself must drain the unicorn tears by hand. You think that kind of service comes cheap?

RE: wow!
By amanojaku on 3/1/2011 12:16:55 PM , Rating: 3
Jobs himself must drain the unicorn tears by hand.
At least the unicorn gets a reach around. When Apple customers get screwed they have to buy their own protective bumpers! Then they get told they're holding it wrong, and they're forced to tell people the experience was magical...

RE: wow!
By AlexWade on 3/1/2011 12:55:55 PM , Rating: 1
For $499 per year, I expect Steve Jobs himself to come to my business and fix my computer on his iPlane.

This is a classic example of loading a bunch of little stuff in a package to make it seem like a good deal. First, consider the name. "Joint Venture". Isn't that when two or more businesses work together for a common goal? The name is trying to fool you into thinking it is more valuable than it is by making a business think Apple is their business partner.

Notice that the price starts at $99 per computer (okay, $99.80 per computer) but you must get a plan for 5 computers even if you have 1 Mac. Also notice that the plan requires you to go to their stores for any more services after the initial installation?

Unless the company has a bunch of Macs, this service gets you coming and going. And if the company had a bunch of Macs, after the first few years, this service will be pure profit. No wonder Apple has so much money.

RE: wow!
By KoolAidMan1 on 3/1/2011 5:41:39 PM , Rating: 3
No wonder Apple insists on avoiding the notion of Anti-Virus software altogether despite the security flaws even just previously noted in another DT article.

What are you talking about? They sell AV software right in the store, always have.

RE: wow!
By Obujuwami on 3/1/2011 7:09:42 PM , Rating: 2
They may sell it but the mythology behind Apple products is that they don't get viruses, they don't ever "break", and they are perfectly powered for what everyone needs. While not an ACN, I have had to be a tech that worked with Macs and they break WORSE than PCs. Getting help fixing them via forums can be a challenge and they don't network well in general.

I have had to setup a network wide AV in a mix Mac/PC environment and I have to tell you that it was a serious pain. I was working with OS X.4+ Macs and I had to eliminate some of the most basic authentication because of how the underlying Unix architecture authenticates with servers. This means that my Macs could only talk to my Win 2k3 server if I disabled authentication (and a few other security features) just so they could get Sophos to update correctly.

IMHO, given that the last few days have given us a new mac virus that looks like what we PC techs combat daily, I don't think Macs need an AV solution, they need their ACNs to have the freedom to work like they have been: as consultants. Then they can do real work and not just me tier 2 techs.

RE: wow!
By Iaiken on 3/2/2011 10:03:05 AM , Rating: 2
I am completely unwilling to remove authentication on my home network and so my wifes mac cannot connect to the media server/htpc.

I was able to get my PS3 browsing and streaming from the home server within 10 minutes and it's a friggen console. After a grand total of 9 hours trying to get her stupid iMac to play nicely, I told her she's just going to have to make due or make a change.

Come on Apple, the network access protocols in Vista/7/Server have been available now for 6 years now. Stop pretending that these systems don't exist or that people don't want to network with them in a secure fashion.

RE: wow!
By erple2 on 3/3/2011 4:56:25 PM , Rating: 2
... I was working with OS X.4+ Macs and I had to eliminate some of the most basic authentication because of how the underlying Unix architecture authenticates with ...

Interesting, and what kinds of authentications is it that Windows machines can do that Unix machines can't again, that aren't rooted in the Windows Centric way of doing things?

I know that I can't play my PS3 games on my PC, but I realize that's because they're incompatible, not that I can't play games on my PC.

RE: wow!
By Alexstarfire on 3/1/2011 7:33:55 PM , Rating: 3
"Always?" I know that's just BS right there. Now, if you said "for a long time" then I'd actually agree with you.

Thats not too bad
By Urbanmech on 3/1/2011 11:09:38 AM , Rating: 3
I'm an IT consultant, do contract work for various business's. Really, $100 per year for each machine isn't bad, I charge $100 an hour. It would be very easy to get several hours of service out of what they offer.

RE: Thats not too bad
By fleshconsumed on 3/1/2011 11:22:29 AM , Rating: 1
Maybe, if you're a business with more than a single mac in use. But then again, nobody actually uses macs for business besides publishing houses who are still convinced that photoshop on a mac is somehow superior to photoshop on PC. I pity regular mac owners with a single mac who will buy into this program. $500 each year for a single computer?

RE: Thats not too bad
By Flunk on 3/1/2011 11:38:54 AM , Rating: 3
This is clearly not a consumer-targeted service. No one is going to pay $500 a year for home PC support discounts.

RE: Thats not too bad
By mcnabney on 3/1/2011 11:58:12 AM , Rating: 2
Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

Oh wait, your serious? Let me laugh even harder.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

/Remember, these are Apple customers we are talking about. If they left a box by the door that said 'Steve Jobs liver donation fund' it would fill up with cash every day.

RE: Thats not too bad
By Camikazi on 3/1/2011 12:03:36 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm now that seems like a quick cash idea, "Steve Jobs liver donation fund" boxes... wonder if I can get away with it :P

RE: Thats not too bad
By Alexstarfire on 3/1/2011 7:36:12 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure it's been copyrighted already. :P

RE: Thats not too bad
By cpeter38 on 3/3/2011 3:50:38 PM , Rating: 2
We could call it ...


RE: Thats not too bad
By omnicronx on 3/1/2011 11:26:11 AM , Rating: 2
What exactly do you think you are getting here? Its just faster service with a loaner in case you need it. Everything else is already offered for free under warranty, it just may take longer.

For the few people that actually use Mac's (which is hardly cost effective in the first place) in business in which they don't have their own IT support, this may help, but seriously these are far and few between.

And what family has 5 Mac's to get down to the $100 dollar price point? And even if they did, they have 4 other Mac's if one were to go down...

RE: Thats not too bad
By Iaiken on 3/1/2011 12:34:56 PM , Rating: 2
Everything else is already offered for free under a $169 warranty, it just may take longer.


RE: Thats not too bad
By Drag0nFire on 3/1/2011 3:07:05 PM , Rating: 2
But remember, that's $100 per year per computer, with no extension to the warranty. You're just getting a prioritized version of the warranty you already paid for!

RE: Thats not too bad
By Urbanmech on 3/2/2011 12:24:38 PM , Rating: 2
Members will also receive free setup services for their business installation, including configuring Microsoft Exchange and transferring data from old machines.

I doubt the warranty covers that. I'm not saying this is some amazing deal their offering, but its not quite a rip off either, there is some advantage to it.

And some business customers will pay more to have it fixed right away, if they want to pay for that, I let them.

Genius Bar
By Mystery Meat on 3/1/2011 11:32:38 AM , Rating: 2
I have a couple of Mac devices that are out of warranty. Occasionally, I have had problems with the devices that I couldn't figure out myself using on-line resources. I've made appointments at my local Apple store. I always been able to make same day or next day appointments. In every case (except one), the Genius Bar people have been able to diagnose and fix the problem in minutes and I've been able to walk out with a fully functional machine. I've never been charged anything for this service.

The exception I mention above was the time the hard drive died on my laptop. They didn't have the HD I needed in stock, so I had to wait a few days before I could get the laptop back. They installed a new hard drive, reinstalled the OS, recovered the data from my dead HD and put it on the new drive. They didn't charge me a penny, even though the machine was out of warranty. I didn't argue or ask why.

Needless to say, I've been very pleased with this free service provided by Apple. The premium prices paid for Apple products are somewhat offset by these free services. I'm not surprised they now want to charge for some of these services. I hope they retain some of the free services I have enjoyed in the past.

RE: Genius Bar
By lightfoot on 3/1/2011 12:17:56 PM , Rating: 2
They didn't charge me a penny, even though the machine was out of warranty. I didn't argue or ask why.

That sounds like a silent recall to me. Makes me wonder if the hard drive was really the problem or if it was some other component.

RE: Genius Bar
By jimbojimbo on 3/1/2011 3:43:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, recovered data from a dead hard drive and for free? Doing that usually costs thousands of dollars so likely the hard drive wasn't dead at all.

RE: Genius Bar
By btc909 on 3/1/2011 2:27:37 PM , Rating: 2
You didn't by any chance donate a liver did you?

RE: Genius Bar
By Iaiken on 3/2/2011 10:09:50 AM , Rating: 2
Interesting, though this good fortune may be entirely localized to you.

My wife had to take her iMac in out of warranty for a DVD problem.

- She was charged $140 for what is basically a $30 laptop combo drive.
- They refused to dismantle the old drive to retrieve her DVD movie.
- They refused to let her have the old drive so that she could retrieve the DVD herself.

Awesome free service indeed! :P

Oh yeah, and the new DVD drive still doesn't work quite right all the time. It likes to randomly spit out disks whenever it feels like it, which has caused a few software installation failures.


$499 USD per year
By Iaiken on 3/1/2011 11:11:50 AM , Rating: 3
But I thought Apples always work and never get viruses or have any problems whatsoever?

Does this make AppleCare ($160) superfluous or are you on the hook for that as well?

RE: $499 USD per year
By Flunk on 3/1/2011 11:39:55 AM , Rating: 1
Applecare is for hardware. I haven't owned a Mac in 15 years and even I know that.

RE: $499 USD per year
By Camikazi on 3/1/2011 12:04:22 PM , Rating: 5
Then they don't exactly "Just Work" now do they? :P

By morphologia on 3/1/2011 2:29:00 PM , Rating: 3
Secret meetings? Who hosted these meetings, Lex Luthor? Was the main discussion about how to stop the SuperFriends?

Come to think of it, Steve Jobs looks a lot like Lex Luthor. Hmm. And most of his minions' efforts involve reducing the freedom of Apple customers by gaining more control over Apple products, which is kinda reminiscent of a Legion of Doom plot. Interesting...

By W00dmann on 3/1/2011 3:29:24 PM , Rating: 2
Secret meetings? Who hosted these meetings, Lex Luthor? Was the main discussion about how to stop the SuperFriends?

Ok, THAT was funny!

Seriously tho', I would hate to pay all kinds of money for this service and never actually need to use it. Seems like overkill to me.

By Alexstarfire on 3/1/2011 7:43:59 PM , Rating: 2
Well, most places try to sell you warranties because they are almost pure profit. Most of the time you'll never need it, but if you happen to need it you save a bunch of money. I've never gotten a warranty and never needed one.

Beating A Dead Horse
By btc909 on 3/1/2011 2:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like Jobs already knew how to beat a Dead Horse, but now is able to bring said Dead Horse back to beat it some more. $500 a year, so you can wait in line less & you wanna bet in most cases your Apple will be fixed in under 24 hours so you won't qualify for that loaner Macbook Pro. This would be assuming any loaner any of these notebooks are available. 24 hours would be considered two business days BTW.

RE: Beating A Dead Horse
By Alexstarfire on 3/1/2011 7:57:43 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure why anyone would want/need a loaner MBP for anyway. The only thing it'd be useful for is email and the internet since you wouldn't have access to any of the files on the computer you brought in for repair.

For $500 at an Apple store
By lightfoot on 3/1/2011 4:25:28 PM , Rating: 3
Let me get this straight... For $500 at an Apple store I can either get a WiFi iPad OR I can get a pat on the back and reassurance that "everything will be all right."

Suddenly the iPad seems much less worthless... Still not worth $500, but it's sure worth a hell of a lot more than this "service."

For $500 I'll just buy a Windows laptop for use when my Mac Book fails. On second thought, I'll just buy the $500 Windows laptop and keep the extra $2,000 in my bank account.

By jnemesh on 3/1/2011 12:15:16 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the whole point of buying a Mac was that "it just works"! LOL

By sprockkets on 3/1/2011 12:55:28 PM , Rating: 2
I managed to get a copy of the secret meeting.

Mac user here and...
By sxr7171 on 3/1/2011 10:05:37 PM , Rating: 2
This is he dumbest idea I have ever heard. $499 for that?

They are fairly reliable machines just as PC Thinkpads are. I can't really imagine sweating down time enough to pay $499. Better to buy a backup machine. But anyway Macs do crash and sometimes even require an involuntary reboot. It's happened to me a few times. So I wouldn't say they are more stable than Windows machines.

By flyingpants1 on 3/3/2011 4:11:35 AM , Rating: 2
OKAY!!! IT'S A GOOD DEAL!!!!!!!!!

Windows mentality
By hiscross on 3/1/11, Rating: -1
RE: Windows mentality
By StraightCashHomey on 3/1/2011 1:52:03 PM , Rating: 3
Obviously you have no experience managing or supporting an enterprise network.

RE: Windows mentality
By rlandess on 3/1/2011 3:42:09 PM , Rating: 2
How is taking issue with Apple's empty marketing gimmickry connected to voting for Obama? If I say Windows is a bloated piece of crap does that mean I voted for McCain? Most people who dislike Apple do so because they know some idiot who minces around telling people how awesome their iPhone is and how their MacBook is well worth the extra $1,000 because it's so easy to use and it just works better. Over time this sort of sentiment wears you down to the point you personally need to set the record straight. You have to evangelize common sense because because there is nothing magical about a Mac, or an Ipod. It's just like anything else but it comes in a prettier box and has the settings dumbed down for the mouth breathing public.

People who work in the real world get sick of being told that their computer labs ought to be replaced by Macs because it would make everything easier, or that we should buy damned ipads because they are so useful in presentations. Apple products are rarely practical to deploy and support in large numbers. They always cost significantly more than similar alternatives. Yes, they are somewhat easier to use. But really how hard is it to learn to use a Windows machine or a linux machine.

I seriously doubt anyone who uses a mac does so for any other reason than to be fashionable.

also - Keep your ignorant political opinions to yourself. Giving Obama comprehensive blame for anything is as ridiculous as giving any other president comprehensive praise for anything else. Do you think a president is like a monarch or a dictator? Presidents have little power without the support of congress. And with support of congress how long does it take to enact change? The situation we see today has come to be because of a long string of bad decisions extend past even the Regan administration.

Is Obama a good or bad president? That's up for grabs. Is he the cause of every painful disappointment in your life? I'd find it hard to believe if that was the case.

How 'bout some real discourse friend, not empty rhetoric.

RE: Windows mentality
By jimbojimbo on 3/1/2011 3:47:23 PM , Rating: 2
What's interesting is Apple lovers generally are the same people that voted for Obama, snobs.

RE: Windows mentality
By eskimospy on 3/2/2011 11:56:54 AM , Rating: 2
So 56% of voters are snobs? Wow.

RE: Windows mentality
By eskimospy on 3/2/2011 11:57:28 AM , Rating: 2
Crap, I mean 53%.

RE: Windows mentality
By Warwulf on 3/2/2011 6:18:15 PM , Rating: 2
No, if only Apple users voted for Obama, he would have only 10% of the vote.

Then again, when has winning or losing the popular election ever mattered?

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