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. AnswerDesk.com 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 AnswerDesk.com as a way of claiming an advantage in an area Apple doesn't usually cover. [via Fusible]