Apple’s new JointVenture service is a business-grade Genius Bar for small to medium-sized business. For $499 you get support for 5 employees with the option to add employees for $99 a year. You get priority Genius Bar support and are allowed to attend special events geared to business users. You also receive phone support from folks who know about your specific needs and wants.
Why is Apple doing this? Well, as our own Apple Jeremiah notes, Apple is gaining market share in all areas, including laptops. With OS X Lion embedding server systems right into the general release and increased use of iPhones and iPads in the office, it just makes sense for Apple to treat these folks a bit differently.
This move towards the enterprise is slow but steady. I doubt anyone in the C-level will want to carry a Lenovo Thinkpad when you can get bulletproof support for a nice, sexy MacBook Air, at least in the start-up arena. And IT guys will like it as well, simply because it reduces the training burden. After all, as the old saying goes, “No one got fired for buying Apple.”