For Applied Biosystems, the first question typically asked when a customer signs on the dotted line after buying an expensive instrument is likely the most important one.

"Can we supply you with the chemistry, the chips, the software, and, by the way, can we have our folks take care of all of that for you?" is the molecular biology toolmaker's equivalent of fast food's "You want fries with that?" But it is much more than an upsell.

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