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Microsoft charging for consumer tech support with new ‘Answer Desk’ service

Microsoft charging for consumer tech support with new ‘Answer Desk’ serviceHow a lot support ought to come free with the acquisition of a tech product? And when does it turn out to be one thing folks ought to pay for?

The problem isn’t clear-cut, which makes the debut of Microsoft’s new “Reply Desk” on-line service an attention-grabbing experiment, a minimum of. Rolled out quietly by the Redmond firm final week, it’s a web based adaptation of the Reply Desks in Microsoft’s retail shops (much like Apple’s Genius Bars), designed for mainstream laptop customers.

After an preliminary free on-line chat with one of many firm’s “Reply Techs,” clients can get software program support ($99 for about 60 minutes), private one-on-one coaching ($49 for an hour-long session) virus elimination and safety ($99 for a two-hour session) PC efficiency (additionally $99 for about two hours).

“Reply Desk Reply Techs are extremely educated, and certified of their area of data, together with widespread software program resembling Phrase, Excel and PowerPoint,” the site promises. “As well as, they’re skilled, pleasant, and devoted to fixing your PC points with out resorting to expertise jargon.”

It’s a 24/7 service, timed to coincide with post-holiday questions on new PCs and software program underneath the tree. In lots of instances, Reply Techs will use distant entry expertise to regulate the client’s laptop and clear up issues as they watch.

Peter Vivid of Ars Technica calls the launch of the service surprising contemplating the essential support that comes with Microsoft software program, and the truth that most copies of Home windows are bought pre-installed on PCs, with the PC makers offering support in these instances, a minimum of in principle.

Area-tracking web site was first to spot the Answer Desk site.

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