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 CAMPBELL, Calif., Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Apple USA division of Apple Computer Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: AAPL) today announced the Apple Support Professional Program, a "commercial-strength" support program designed to help technology center/help desk staff, consultants, and reseller support organizations more efficiently provide end user computing support, recommend and evaluate new technologies, and maintain networks. The program is available to Apple customers in the United States.
 Support Professional is an integrated package made up of four "Support Platforms," including Support Briefing, Technical Response, Support Automation and Infrastructure Development. By bundling these four platforms, the support professional program addresses the full range of support needs from information services to support impact briefings on new technology, prioritized escalation paths for technical assistance, and turn-key methods for developing and maintaining a support infrastructure.
 Comprehensive, Multivendor Support Structure
 The program is unique, in that the "Support Platforms" can accommodate support services and information from Apple and other vendors. Even customers' own, self-generated information can be added to the program. Although the first release of the platforms will be based on Apple technology, Apple intends to make the Support Briefing Platform and the Support Automation Platform's Support Information System component accessible from a MicroSoft Windows client.
 Apple is working with other vendors and publishers that wish to use the software and infrastructure framework provided by the Support Professional Program to deliver their support services and information. For example, the Computer Library division of Ziff-Davis Electronic Information, publisher of the Support On Site and Computer Select CD-ROM subscription knowledgebases, plans to publish versions of its multivendor technical support CDs, Support On Site For Networks and Support On Site For Applications, that are compatible with Apple's Support Information System. Apple will also provide Ziff with Apple's technical information for publications on this and other versions of Ziff's Support On Site CDs. Ziff plans to make this available in the first quarter of 1994, and will offer this through Apple as well as Ziff's normal channels of distribution. Computer Library can be reached at 212-503-4400 or 800-827-7889, ext. 517.
 Input from IS Professionals
 The Support Professional Program was co-developed with extensive input from top support professionals through MacIS (Managing Apple Computers in Information Systems), an independent professional association made up of Fortune 500 and higher education IS professionals. The program is designed to meet specific needs of support professionals responsible for maintaining large, complex computing environments.
 "The Support Professional Program is Apple's first truly comprehensive tactical support program," said Christine Leatz, manager, office technology worldwide for FMC Corporation and co-chairperson for the MacIS support task force. "Support Professional is exactly the program we need to do our jobs more effectively."
 The Four Support Platforms Support Briefing
 The Support Briefing Platform is designed to save the time and resources required to attend on-site training seminars and helps professionals understand the support implications of a new product or technology prior to its arrival into a computing environment. The Support Briefing Platform uses a viewer application, the 'Apple Briefing System' to review a multimedia briefing presentation (issued quarterly) and document questions relating to the briefing. Following this review, subscribers engage in interactive Q&A conference sessionswith topic experts to bring the briefing experience "on-site."
 Technical Response
 The Technical Response Platform provides phone-based technical assistance tailored to the urgent needs of support professionals. Support is provided directly by senior support engineers and covers issues related to Apple products and their use and integration in multivendor computing environments. Apple's board seat and membership in TSANet(A) ensures capability for problem ownership ofApple- multivendor issues as a result of escalation agreements between Apple and other TSANet members. Coverage is available from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. customer time, Monday through Friday. Priority telephone response and escalation issue queuing is a feature of this component, as well as quarterly call activity reports.
 Support Automation
 The three initial components of the Support Automation Platform are designed to increase help desk efficiency and boost overall organizational productivity by helping support professionals more efficiently access information to speed problem isolation, increasing end-user ability to isolate problems, and escalating issues via a formal problem resolution path.
 -- The Support Information System is a client-server computing support system that enables quick access to information supplied from Apple, other vendors, and customer-generated content. This system uses AppleSearch(B) to deliver ranked-relevant returns to 'natural language' search queries to help pinpoint problems. Support Notices! (reports on bugs, viruses and other incompatibilities) are broadcasted directly from Apple to the customer's server and proactively reported to the subscriber using AppleSearch automatic scheduled updating feature. Also included as a part of the subscription is the Apple Support Library, a bi-monthly CD that contains Apple's Technical Information Library of more than 12,000 articles; electronic versions of most Apple product manuals, and an archive of System Software, network and peripheral drivers to assist with disaster recovery (not for purposes of software upgrades or updates).
 -- The System Profiler performs a confidence test and compiles an inventory of an end-user system's hardware and software configuration so that support professionals can quickly ascertain key system information from users and focus troubleshooting efforts.
 -- The Apple Escalation Router helps define escalation paths within an organization so that end-user queries are directed to the appropriate support resource. The Escalation Router can be configured by help desk administrators and Information Resource staff to define multiple escalation paths within the organization and easily update these paths from a central server when escalation paths change.
 Infrastructure Development
 The Infrastructure Development Platform provides automated, self- paced training for new help desk staff or key users in supporting the Macintosh. Comprised of three levels of skill modules, the platform also includes a module development tool so that training can be customized for organization-specific computing environments. The program also includes a bi-monthly support publication "Apple Off-line" and semi-annual catalog of support training.
 Pricing and Availability
 A yearly subscription to the Support Professional Program is available today and can be obtained directly from Apple Computer by contacting an Apple Customer Support Account Manager or Regional Support and Service Manager. For additional information, contact Apple's Customer Assistance Center 800-776-2333. There are several configurations of the program ranging from an offering sized for individual support consultants through those packaged by size of help desk organization. Introductory prices for these configurations vary from $2,900 ApplePrice (AP) to $14,500 AP. A Support Information Package, containing briefings and the publications is priced at $500 AP.
 (A) TSANet is the Technical Support Alliance Network, an independent organization for cooperative technical support. TSANet is chartered with developing and promoting a set of service guidelines that will provide cooperative, system-level technical support for customers, regardless of the configuration of products of vendors that are represented in the TSANet.
 (B) AppleSearch is a new information search and retrieval service that combines features found on high-end bibliographic, full-text retrieval software with Apple's traditional ease-of-use. It is a newly released shrink-wrapped client/server software product from Apple Business Systems Division.
 Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Apple Computer, Inc. develops, manufactures and markets personal computer, server, and personal interactive electronic systems for use in business, education, the hm?e, science, engineering, and government. A recognized pioneer and innovator in the personal computer industry, Apple does business in more than 120 countries.
 NOTE: Apple and the Apple logo are registered trademarks and AppleSearch is a trademark of Apple Computer Inc. Support On Site is a trademark and Computer Select is a registered trademark of Ziff-Davis Publishing Company.
 -0- 11/8/93
 /CONTACT: Stacy Williams of Apple Computer, 408-974-6076/

CO: Apple Computer Inc. ST: California IN: CPR SU: PDT

TM -- SJ010 -- 1972 11/08/93 18:47 EST
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Date:Nov 8, 1993

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