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Microsft tries Genius Bar-like help online

updated 12:30 am EST, Thu December 8, 2011

Microsoft takes Answer Desk service to the web

Microsoft took a low key approach Wednesday to trying to counter Apple's Genius Bar service. takes much of the company's Answer Desk service from its retail shops to free, live chats on the web. Along with diagnosing technical problems with Microsoft software, they also provide the same non-emergency help, such as training users on Office and Windows.

To add a more human element than most chat support, Answer Desk lets visitors pick the technician they want to speak with and view their experience ahead of time.

Service so far is limited to the US, although Microsoft also has Answer Desk web domain names for France, Japan, Switzerland, and Taiwan.

Microsoft originally conceived of its retail stores as ways to directly counter Apple's effort, in many cases duplicating the core experience down to the bright layouts and Genius Bar equivalent. It has gradually shifted the stores' roles from experiment to full-fledged competition and may see as a way of claiming an advantage in an area Apple doesn't usually cover. [via Fusible]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Here's why Apple doesn't do it

    I read a quote a few years ago about service techs... maybe it was for Novell. They had 22 PC techs for one-half Mac! And one of the BIG problems with PC problems is the WAIT!!! Pick your tech? When is that gonna happen? I don't see Apple doing this. Most will go into the nearest Apple store and there are quite a few of them now. This idea by MS would be good if it could work, don't see how it can. Do they do ANY testing for stuff like this?

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's like going to Toyota for your BMW problems

    How could a company address problems from dozens of unknown vendors? Maybe this is a way to catch pirate copies of Windows.

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The pic above with MS store right across Apple is hilarious! MS thinks they are getting foot traffic, instead they get looked at and laughed at by the shoppers. They all know its MS being a wannabe Apple. LOL

  1. facebook_Jason

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2011


    MS Customer Service

    It's fun to watch MS throw $$$ away at things that generally are worthless. Prediction is that people will become so confused and/or frustrated with this new service that it drives them into an Apple store, they buy a Mac or iPad and live happily ever after.

  1. msuper69

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Genius Bar-like?

    If they were so smart, they would switch to the Mac. Of course, then they wouldn't have a job.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Can't Wait ...

    Can't wait for the panoramic photo showing the jam-packed Apple Store and the deserted Microsoft Store in a single shot.

    Think I'll send one to Ballmer.

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