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Apple's New JointVenture Program Could Put Strain on Geniuses

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Apple is on the verge of implementing the so-called “JointVenture” program that will allow customers to pay for special treatment at Genius Bars at retail locations.

9to5Mac reports that Apple will charge $499 for “up to 5 users and $99 for each additional user/year.” Participants in the program will get prioritized service at the Genius Bar, the ability to call a Genius on the phone for support, a replacement computer should theirs require more than 24 hours to be fixed, and access to in-store workshops.

Analysts say the program highlights Apple’s interest in increasing revenue from small businesses. But as more and more users stock up on Apple machines, the program could be attractive to everyday customers as well.

But for anyone who’s ever waiting in line at a Genius Bar, the new program could add insult to injury. As anyone who’s ever visiting an Apple store in NYC knows instinctively, a visit to the Genius Bar is about as time-consuming as a visit to the DMV…in another state. If JointVenture participants are getting preferential treatment, things could only get worse.

Commenting on 9to5Mac, one former Genius foretells catastrophe:

“As a former Genius, I can tell you that the Genius crew is already stretched to the limit with demands from managers and higher-ups at Apple. The bars are frequently behind, with people waiting for both their scheduled appointments and walk-ins that show up and expect service. So now there's this new service, which if it takes off, removes yet another Genius from either the repair crew or the Genius Bar crew...AND now there will be someone answering phones and getting involved in lengthy tech support situations. (To be fair: I'm not clear if the phone calls are via your local Apple store or whether those are farmed out to a more Applecare-like facility specifically designed for these business calls.) So now you've got business people who are expected to be treated like kings, above and beyond the standard customer base? Combining both business and retail customers together at the same bar, at the same time, without dedicated personnel, seems like a recipe for disaster.”

Maybe. But as Albert Einstein once remarked: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.