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Microsoft Launches for Online Tech Support

Brick-and-mortar Microsoft stores may be few and far between, but the company is taking a page out of Apple's book to amp up its tech support profile. It just pushed live a new site called Answer Desk, which The Next Web says is the web-based version of Apple's in-store Genius Bar.

Answer Desk is a portal for 24/7 support for software-related issues. PC users can chat with the site's staff--called Answer Techs--to receive troubleshooting help, virus removal and PC tune-ups, or training in programs such as Microsoft Office 2010.

The setup is decidedly personal--each Answer Tech staff member has a profile photo and a user rating, so you really know who you're talking to. Don't think Msoft's giving away that friendliness for free, though; following a complimentary "consult chat," users will be billed for the service. An hour of "personal training" costs $49, while virus removal will set you back $99.

More tech support is always a good thing, but Microsoft's paid service is unlikely to win over many Mac users who can walk into the Genius Bar for free. Answer Desk is fresh out of the box, though, so those Answer Techs could have a few tricks up their sleeve.

via The Next Web