Can Best Buy become your IT shop?

Can Best Buy become your IT shop?

Summary: Best Buy bought Speakeasy on Tuesday for $97 million in another move to become the IT shop for small businesses. Speakeasy offers broadband voice, data and IT services and will sit inside the Best Buy For Business Unit.

TOPICS: Microsoft

Best Buy bought Speakeasy on Tuesday for $97 million in another move to become the IT shop for small businesses.

Speakeasy offers broadband voice, data and IT services and will sit inside the Best Buy For Business Unit. Best Buy is aiming to be a one-stop shop for small businesses. If you add up Best Buy's recent small business moves--coupled with its Geeksquad unit--and it appears the company is taking a detour to become an IT service provider of sorts.

"With Speakeasy in our portfolio, we are better equipped to provide our small business customers with one-stop shopping for all of their technology needs. Our goal is to provide small businesses with the resources they need so that they can focus squarely on their customers instead of on technology," said Darren Jackson, Best Buy executive vice president and CFO, in a statement.

Simply put, Best Buy may start looking like a value added reseller. At the least, Best Buy could encroach on CDW's turf. The company already has a decent base since 32 percent of its product revenue in fiscal 2006 was home office gear.

Best Buy is looking to services and international stores to fuel its future growth. And Best Buy already has the service provider lingo down:

Best Buy For Business technology specialists help small business customers understand how technology can improve their companies, offering business-class technology products and solutions. Customers can engage Best Buy For Business through locations within 281 Best Buy stores around the country, via the web at, and over the phone.

Hmmm. Sounds like a reseller.

Among Best Buy's recent moves:

  • In October 2006, Best Buy hired David Hemler away from Microsoft to be vice president of sales and operations. At Microsoft, Hemler was regional vice president of the small midmarket solutions and partner group.
  • It has expanded Best Buy For Business to 266 stores in the U.S. as of Dec. 12, up from 173 stores a quarter earlier.
  • Bolstered its ranks of Microsoft-certified professionals to 400.
  • Had a strong presence at FOSE 2007. Stanford Financial Group analyst Jeremy Grant said Best Buy "is attempting to make a big play into the federal technology resellers market."

Best Buy doesn't break out sales for Best Buy For Business, but management has made it clear that it's one of the company's priorities. The company's moves definitely warrant watching. Perhaps more color emerges when Best Buy reports earnings April 4.

Topic: Microsoft

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Not worried

    My boss had loads of fun dealing with those guys with her personal computer. After that experience, lets just say I'm not worried.

    I'm sure the price will be extremely attractive, but in my admittedly narrow exposure to them, quality is not in the corporate culture.
    • Sorry - Price is NOT attractive

      Have you actually looked at their pricing scale? $199 to set up your new PC (turn it on, set your user name, etc.) And for a complete wipe and restore?

      Sorry, but your local entrepreneur has better prices, more qualified technicians and better service than the Geek Squad. They are a total laugh where I live.

      Take a look for yourselves:
      Confused by religion
      • Sounds like a deal to me

        I think I will call them up to have them load Deer Hunter 3D on my Tandy. They could load Windows Vista on there as well. I am sure I will have to buy a memory upgrade and maybe a harddrive upgrade, but it will be worth it. I can hire them to install all of that. I would have my brother Mike Cox do it, but he is always busy going on about how I need to load Windows Vienna on there, and I am just not ready to try that out yet.
  • Waiting for the lawsuit

    To me, calling it Geek Squad is derogatory. Being called a geek carries a negative connotation and stereotype. No one grows up wanting to be a geek or though of as one.

    I doubt that I would make it far if I started up a diet/exercise clinic called "Narcissist Squad". I doubt other professionals in the health industry would appreciate that. The name Geek Squad is harming real IT professionals.
  • CompUSA is dead!

    This is just another nail in CompUSA's coffin.

    It be interesting to see if they can rebound from this.
    • Important to mention

      Allthough it is important to mention that BestBuy has alot of ground to cover in their quality of service department before they can be counted a true business worthy IT shop.
  • Never

    Best Buy will NEVER become anything other than a nuisance to me. I cannot rely upon them to understand their own return policies, more or less a service contract. Plus, they abuse their own employees so much that they have inspired the creatin of "", with which I am NOT affiliated, but have enjoyed reading very much.

    If I can avaoid Bestbuy whenever possible, I do. Even if I pay a few cents more. Besides, their stores have never beat web prices, and their stores also usually refuse to honor their own web prices.

    In short, if I have no other choice, then I will consider BestBuy or going without. Unless it is mission-critical, I would rather go without.
  • It took the Geek Squad 3 months to fix my laptop

    I bough a laptop from Best Buy and their warrant. That was my first mistake. It took them 3 months with 5 trips to their store to fix it. On one trip I told them I needed the laptop back for a trip to Los Angeles in about 6 weeks. They said "No Problem" I would have it back long before then. I called to remind then I needed my laptop for the trip about two weeks before. When I arrived in Los Angeles with no laptop, I called them again and they said it was ready to ship back to me. I told them I was not at home and it needed to be shipped to my hotel in Los Angeles. When it arrived the next day they replaced the hard drive and there was no OS installed, When I called them they told me that was because I didn't pay them to back up my data. I would NEVER think of returning a computer to a customer without reinstalling their OS. Here is my full BLOG on Best Buy and their service.
    My company does on site tech support for companies like Dell, HP/Compaq and CompUSA. I have been out on a couple of calls after 'The Geek Squad' tried to do some hard things like set up a NetGear wireless router on a Mac. The tech tried for about 4 hours and it took me about 5 minutes.
    Need we say more?
  • NOT geeks...

    The so-called "Geek Squad" are anything but. They are using a business model which will quickly drive them out of business: Hire the cheapest help we can get and charge premium prices. I followed the link from an earlier post and it makes me laugh. $39 to install MEMORY?!?!?! What, a 5 minute job? $39 to install an optical drive? Maybe 7 minutes? (This includes opening the case). $129 for an OS upgrade? The funniest thing is what they pay their people. You, too, can be a Geek! Pay starts at $9/hr. (Wisconsin) I wouldn't get out of bed for that.
    • Same wage here in Colorado and they would

      like you to have a BA. Get Real Best Buy!
    • apparently there is a market...

      and given the quality of the Geek Squads work i've had to fix, i'd have to say that any small business that tries this service will go postal. They hire people with no technical experience and pawn them off with as little training as possible so they wont leave. If you can get the experience needed you can move on, they dont want that, so no real training. I don't think anyone who does this sort of thing on their own has anything to worry about. Geek Squad is a very pathetic attempt by Best Buy to make some extra cash for services that ordinary people need, these ordinary people only make that mistake once as well.
  • Not even close...

    Best Buy's Geek Squad is a bunch of crap. I just bought a new laptop from them and they wanted to sell me a 200 package to put on antivirus software, spyware and remove all of the "crapware" as they called in on my computer and "make it safe". I declined of course and proceeded to do this all by myself in about 15 minutes. My lady had her Toshiba Satellite quit working. We took it in d.t extended warranty. They said they would fix it and send it back. Came back and wouldn't work. Seems that they did something to the hard drive when the fixed the mobo. So I had to fix that too and format. I feel bad for the people like the guy I saw in their last week who was buying a 1500 computer and spent 200 on something that doesn't require a lot of work.
  • Here's how to become a 'geek' in the 'squad' (aka "GS"):

    1. Be a blue shirt do-nothing paid-for-parrot at Best Buy for at least 6 months.

    2. After completing #1 successfully, apply for a GS position and hope they deem you 'the pick of the litter', so to speak. For GS (which ought to be known as BS given the quality of their service) will NOT hire anybody directly from the outside and with pre-employment profiling questions about [b]graduating high school[/b], amongst the usual garbage about being introverted and extroverted, it takes little to deduce what they are looking for. They [b]do not want technically inclined people working there[/b].

    And coming in to these stores, often just to test the competency of the workers, all they care about is selling the biggest product. I do not want a sales lecture. I want empirical knowledge. They can't even sell the product, much less try to fix the thing!

    Best Buy needs to stay out of the service industry if "Geek Squad" is anything to judge them by -- and they have every right to be judged. Leave it to the small businesses who actually DO this sort of thing for a living and as such take the time to really know things, rather than being an ex-floor walker with a white shirt instead of a blue one.

    As for CompUSA, I don't know about all the stores they were closing, but the ones in my area actually knew something and were loyal to their employer. Can't say that about Best Buy either...

    And I agree with the other person, who is right in saying corporate culture has no place for quality. It's an all-too-common factor showing itself time and time again.