Apple seems to be creating its version of The Geek Squad. The Boom! disposal experts. Does this mean that we will soon be seeing squadrons of silver-colored vans, driven by bespectacled men in black polonecks zipping around the country, providing on-site tech support to those people who can't make head nor tail of how to sync their Apple TV receiver to their TV?
Monday saw the U.S. Patent office publish Cupertino's latest trademark application—and there's nothing remotely touchscreen or cable-y about it. The trademark goes by the potentially confusing name of Joint Venture—which has led one Web site to speculate that Jobs is going to use his $40 billion of cash in the crazy world of VC. There is, however, a potentially larger clue in the trademark classes that the name has been registered under.
- International Class 035: Retail store services featuring computers
- International Class 037: Maintenance, installation and repair of computer hardware, peripherals, networks and consumer electronic devices.
- International Class 041: Education and training services, workships, conferences and seminars in the field of computers
- International Class 042: Tech support and consulting services for computer hardware, peripherals, etc
For all Apple's simplicity, there is still a generation of people who press the panic button when something goes wrong with their computers (a perfect example would be my Mom.) If they're too far away from the Genius Bar at Apple's retail store (or who don't have the patience to wait four days for an appointment), or can't make head or tail of what phone support is telling them to do, then Apple is onto a winner. After all, a report last July claimed that Apple owned 91% of the $1,000-plus computer market—and people who can afford a Mac can usually afford on-site tech support.
One point of potential conflict may well be with BestBuy, parent company of the Geek Squad. Last week, Apple's Tim Cook announced that the iPad would be on sale at the retail giant, and on hearing this news, BestBuy—admittedly not exactly Mac specialists—may not be best pleased.