Apple Rolls out Subscription Service for Small-business Owners


imgApple Inc has introduced a new subscription service to aid small-business owners manage the Apple devices used by their employees.

Apple considers this service as Business Essentials, and is similar to management software that companies such as Microsoft Corp or VMware Inc sell to large businesses for setting up and keeping secure their fleets of phones, laptops and tablets.

However, Apple’s version is simplified for businesses with between 50 and 500 employees that have either a small IT department or none at all. The service would cost between $2.99 and $12.99 per month per user depending on how many devices a business wants to manage for each employee and how much cloud storage the business wants. For an additional monthly cost, Apple will also offer a service to repair or replace broken hardware at a business within four hours, though the company said it has not yet determined pricing for that service.

Susan Prescott, vice president of enterprise and education marketing, Apple says, ”Time is of the essence – for small businesses, it’s one of their most valuable resources. As they start to grow, there are more demands on their time. And that can be in lieu of running the business doing the things they need to do.” Maribel Lopez, founder and principal analyst at Lopez Research, said the pairing of management software with a repair service subscription is unique in the industry.

“People are going to think that part doesn’t matter, but I think they’re underestimating the power of being able to get really good service,” she said. Apple said it will start testing Business Essentials in the United States on Wednesday, and it will be free until the service is finalised next year. Apple plans to expand it to other locations in the future, executives said.