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  (Source: Engadget)
Consumer Reports/Consumerist investigation details Best Buy's worthless optimization service

With Circuit City now out of the way as its major competitor in the U.S. consumer electronics retailing business, Best Buy is plowing along with little resistance. The Richfield, Minnesota-based company employs over 150,000 people and has over 1,000 stores in 49 states.

However, Margins are notoriously slim in the consumer electronics retail business, and Best Buy has been using its Geek Squad services subsidiary to help bolster revenues.

In its latest investigation, The Consumerist tackled Best Buy's Geek Squad optimization services which retails for $39.95. During its investigation involving 18 Best Buy stores in 11 states, the publication looked to determine 1) What exactly is included in the optimization service, 2) How does Best Buy market the service, and 3) Is it worth it to the consumer to purchase the service.

The results were pretty much in line with what most tech heads would expect when it comes to services offered by Best Buy or similar big box retailers. The Consumerist found that one Best Buy rep promised that optimization would boost a new PC's performance by 200%. In actual Consumer Reports testing, however, it was found that at least one machine which had been optimized by Geek Squad performed 32% worse than a stock, non-altered system -- in fact, none of the optimized systems performed better than machines that were fresh out of the box.

So what exactly are these optimizations that are being performed? According to The Consumerist, Windows Updates were downloaded on machines, desktop icons had been cleaned up a bit, and some UI tweaks were done to make navigation "easier" for the consumer.

Even more telling were a few other issues that cropped up in the investigation. While Best Buy's Geek Squad removed desktop icons related to trialware that is notorious for cluttering and bogging down new systems, the offending programs were still left installed. A power cord for one of the systems had even been left out of the box after the "optimization" was performed.

In addition, at least one reader was told that she could not buy a new laptop at the advertised sale price because all of the machines in stock had already been pre-optimized -- and thus came with a price tag that was $39.95 higher -- and there were no un-optimized machines in stock.

Understandably, The Consumerist surmised that not only is the service not worth the $40 price tag, but it didn't even improve the performance of the new machines.

For its part, a Best Buy representative noted that the service "isn't for everybody" and that "I would get optimization for my parents."



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So...?
By LCS2009 on 1/5/2010 4:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
Hello:
I don't live in USA but I have heard a lot of BestBuy and GeekSquad. They are trying to open a lot of stores in Europe now, so my questions are:
1-Best Buy and Geek Squad are from the same company/owner or are they associated companies?
2-What's your opinion about GeekSquad? (because I read a lot of bad things about BestBuy in this comments already)
3-What type of service does GeekSquad offer?
4-Have you test that "optimization program" by yourself? How was it?
5-Did you work in GS or BB? Waht can you tell about it?




RE: So...?
By morphologia on 1/5/2010 6:06:52 PM , Rating: 2
(1) Geek Squad is an extra service provided as a subsidiary of Best Buy. They're part of the BB brand.
(2) Geek Squad can provide useful help in a minority of cases, but most of it is charging for things you can do yourself by actually reading the instructions.
(3) Geek Squad offers hardware and software installation and troubleshooting, both in-store and to your door. Some people are paying for them to wire up their home theater system with the wall-mounted speakers and multi-channel A/V receiver. Others are essentially paying to have someone defrag their harddrive, empty their recycle bin and run a built-in application they already have.
(4) I myself have had to "un-fix" such an optimization made to my mother's PC. I'm not sure how they sleep at night having people on their payroll whose idea of optimization is compressing the hard drive and downgrading the main account to non-power-user status.
(5) I have friends who work in Best Buy and they admit that though some Geeks have real knowledge and are helpful, most are just pushing the company's product with no regard to whether the service is helpful or even necessary.


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