In a blaze of literally no publicity, Microsoft today launched AnswerDesk.com, its new round-the-clock ‘premium’ technical support service, which aims to provide assistance to customers experiencing issues with Microsoft software and services.
MS claims that the new site will give its users “the most convenient, friendly and easy way to get the most out of your PC”. Offering access to this support 24/7, 365 days a year, is a team of “Answer Techs”, Microsoft’s
rip-off of homage to Apple’s pretentiously named “Geniuses”, who offer support to customers in Apple Stores worldwide.
Fusible reports that AnswerDesk.com visitors will be able to choose from a range of Answer Techs online, viewing their profiles, and checking out their experience and expertise - before presumably choosing the most attractive one available.
Microsoft also offers the Answer Desk in its retail locations, where a range of services is provided, including hardware installation, software upgrades and data back-up. Services have also been made available to customers remotely, and these are expected to form the foundations of the new AnswerDesk.com offerings – but they certainly come at a price.
Getting an Answer Tech to sweep your system for viruses/malware and install the free Microsoft Security Essentials software on your system will set you back $99. Sure, you don’t have to leave your home or office for them to sort it out for you – it’s all done remotely through the magic of the interwebs – but that’s still a pretty big chunk of change.
An “Advanced PC Tune-Up” will also cost you $99 – this too involves installing Security Essentials, but additionally, the techie will remotely “run Disk Cleanup and remove temporary Internet files”, disable “unnecessary services and applications” and run Windows Update. Bargain.
A one-year subscription to “Premium Tech Support” is also available for $199, and unless Microsoft plans to dramatically change the way the whole service works, this will probably be a key part of the new AnswerDesk.com offering. ‘Probably’ remains the key word here, as Microsoft hasn’t issued any press releases or marketing material yet about the new site, despite it going live several hours ago, after a week of final testing under password protection.
Microsoft has registered numerous international domains, including AnswerDesk.fr, AnswerDesk.jp and AnswerDesk.tw, but these sites are not yet active - and any visitors outside of the US attempting to visit AnswerDesk.com are told that such premium treats are for American eyes only:
I guess us non-Americans will just have to take our money elsewhere... Maybe some place where we’re not going to get ripped off while someone installs free software on our laptops and calls it a “premium service”.