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11/9/2009
12:57 PM
Jake Widman
Jake Widman
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New Macintosh Online Support Service

Founded by longtime Mac consultants and support providers MacSupport.com offers technical help by phone and via remote access. Best suited for small and home businesses, the support is available on an ad hoc basis and is priced per problem.

Founded by longtime Mac consultants and support providers MacSupport.com offers technical help by phone and via remote access. Best suited for small and home businesses, the support is available on an ad hoc basis and is priced per problem.MacSupport.com may be newly launched, but it was founded by principals of The Templeton Group, which has been providing Mac support since 1997. According to MacSupport cofounder Tony Ricciardi, Templeton served as the outsourced IT department for both midsize businesses and for the Mac needs of larger businesses who might have their own IT department but no Mac specialists.

According to Ricciardi, he and his partners noticed that they kept getting calls from people who'd had dealings with Templeton at other companies and wanted to know if they could provide support for individuals and small businesses as well. Templeton already owned the macsupport.com domain, so last April they set up a new business targeting smaller operations.

After some months of hiring and training their tech support people, MacSupport.com opened its doors -- and phones -- last week. "We help people with problems Apple can't help them with," says Ricciardi. "Maybe they have Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite problems that they can't take to the Apple store."

"But we made a conscious decision not to be a service for super technical people," Ricciardi continues. "We provide basic help for small businesses who have questions every once in a while."

The operation and pricing structure reflects that "every once in a while" approach. A customer initiates a support call by clicking the Get Help Now button on the MacSupport site, creating an account, and describing the problem. They can then buy what MacSupport calls an "incident," which is one issue that will be dealt with until it's fixed. One incident costs $40, and five cost $160 -- they don't expire, so a customer can buy five without worrying about having to use them up.

Support is provided over the phone but also by using MacSupport's own remote access software, with which their support people can take over a customer's Mac and work with it to diagnose and fix the problem. The primary drawback, at least for those of us on the West Coast, is that support is only available from 10 AM to 6 PM Eastern time at the moment, but the company plans to extend those hours.

MacSupport may not be the best option for network issues or widespread malfunctions. But for the odd problem affecting a single desktop, the terms and price seem like just what the do-it-yourself IT department ordered.

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