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Businesses Software The Almighty Buck

Best Buy Abandoning "Optimization" Service? 156

ddillman writes "According to The Consumerist, Best Buy is apparently dropping some of its 'optimization' services, and will instead provide the 'Best Buy Software Installer,' a new tool that the company says will 'radically simplify how you set up and customize your new PC or upgrade an existing one.' Translation: instead of you paying Best Buy to delete trialware from your new PC, Best Buy will get paid by software makers to try to get you to install it. A page on the Best Buy web site states that the new installation tool will be available January 17th, and 'gives you choices and options to configure your computer, and saves you time by making it easy to discover new software, then download and install with a single click.' According to an alleged internal Best Buy document obtained by a technology blog, Best Buy stands to make an extra $5 per PC just by including BBSI."
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Best Buy Abandoning "Optimization" Service?

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  • Opportunity (Score:4, Interesting)

    by conureman ( 748753 ) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @11:17AM (#30714588)

    Great chance for noobs to try removing crap until something breaks, and then see if they got a usable "recovery disc" with their OS. That's how I got started with computers.

    • Re:Opportunity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rotide ( 1015173 ) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @11:29AM (#30714658)

      I hate to bring cars into this (obligatory car analogy?) but it's kind of like saying that it's an opportunity to become a mechanic if the new car you buy needs a lot of "under the hood" tweaking to get to run correctly. Obviously, you can always tweak anything you buy to make it better (aftermarket parts) but the thing should be street worthy straight out of the box.

      Some people don't want to be mechanics, they just want the damn thing to work after you pay lots of money for it. If they wanted to put in the effort they would have bought a kit car (newegg or other such a la carte setup) and built it themselves.

      I dare say that those who visit a store such as best buy to get a computer (laptops not included, can't do much about those proprietary pieces of *grumble*) generally need a lot of hand holding. You really can't expect the people who fall into that demographic to be the kinds who want to put in a ton of effort.

      • While it does not happen often, sometimes pre-built PCs actually have an attractive set of hardware. In that case, buying the thing and reinstalling the OS and the applications from scratch may be attractive. I remember a discount PC from the early 2000s that actually had components from reputable brands. A friend asked "can you recommend that?", I said yes and the PC actually worked fine for several years.

        Of course, that requires a user that CAN do a reinstall if necessary. A DRM-free pirate version of you

      • <quote>... they just want the damn thing to work after you pay lots of money for it. </quote>

        I couldn't agree more. I'd like to see a way of quantifying this type of pain and aggravation (dealing with pre-installed trialware/crapware) into the cost of a PC.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nine-times ( 778537 )

        I hate to bring cars into this (obligatory car analogy?) but it's kind of like saying that it's an opportunity to become a mechanic if the new car you buy needs a lot of "under the hood" tweaking to get to run correctly.

        The problem with the car analogy is that, with computers, there isn't as great a divide between "using" and "maintaining". Though few people do as much as installing their own car stereos or even changing their own oil, most people install software on their computer at some point. The skills of installing or uninstalling applications and moving/copying files are central to maintaining a computer, but they're also part of a normal user's repertoire.

        Though I fully understand that most people don't want to

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RobertM1968 ( 951074 )

        Your sentiment is correct on it's face... but fact is, nowadays, people (for the most part) do not pay "lots of money for" computers. They pay near nothing, and part of the costs are subsidized by the crapware that comes on the machines. After all, how much do you think it costs to make that $299 laptop at BestBuy (hardware and OS and such)?

        • I certainly don't think it costs anywhere near $299. The chips are all standard models that have entered mass production. The operating system license is being subsidized by Microsoft. The real cost is assembly. Do you really think it costs that much to assemble a netbook?

          No, the reason that BestBuy is interested in this is that it can't add as much markup to a $299 netbook as a $599 laptop. Therefore, any source of additional margin is a godsend for them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ivan256 ( 17499 )

        Every car I've ever bought new has needed an immediate ad-ware removal (bumper sticker & license plate frame).

        Almost all of them, in my opinion, also needed an immediate brake pad replacement as well. Most people are satisfied with the crap that comes on there from the factory, though, even though they spend the first 20k miles scraping gunk off their wheels from the crappy pads, without even getting very good performance in exchange.

        Many people buy a new car, and promptly shell out for "dealer options"

        • Re: New car ad-ware (Score:4, Interesting)

          by davebarnes ( 158106 ) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @03:37PM (#30716234)

          When I buy a new car, I add words to the contract that state: "Dealer shall affix no decals and will remove any dealer markings that are on the car. Dealer agrees to pay all costs of removal."

          One car I bought had to go into the body shop so they could the holes created by the screw-on decal.

          • by ivan256 ( 17499 )

            I simply wouldn't buy such a car. Holes? Really? You know what's going to rust out first.

            Anyway, every dealership around here puts the crap on when the cars arrive on the lot. And I don't trust anybody to do a damage free job of removing stuff.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jurily ( 900488 )

      Great chance for noobs to try removing crap until something breaks

      Except the "noobs" don't want that. They want to play games, watch porn and get on with their lives.

      • Re:Opportunity (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Adambomb ( 118938 ) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @11:35AM (#30714690) Journal

        Except the "noobs" don't want that. They want to play games, watch porn and get on with their lives.

        Then wonder why their computer is getting slow, and eventually think "i should just buy a new one".

        • by Jurily ( 900488 )

          Why should they have to learn when they can solve it with money? It keeps the economy going.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Adambomb ( 118938 )

            Because thats a broken window fallacy, by investing in new computers they wouldn't need if their current system was properly maintained they're expending money on something that could otherwise be used for the purchase of something else they do not already have, or even invest it (even if its only to the tune of a small government bond or guaranteed interest certificate style investment).

            This holds double for items that have a tendancy to either be primarily imported or made primarily with imported parts.

          • Because... it's bad for the environment? :-P

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by poetmatt ( 793785 )

      I still am amazed if that document is true about the $5 just to put it on people's PCs. This is marginally better than "Forced optimization" until people realize they're probably charging extra just to put this best buy installer on the pc.

      I am not 100%, but I'll bet there's a charge for "setting up the best buy installer".

    • Re:Opportunity (Score:5, Informative)

      by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Sunday January 10, 2010 @01:23PM (#30715302) Journal

      Funny, I got my first Windows PC (A 486DX running Win3.1) because the guy that had it owed me $100 and had gotten it full of malware and didn't know how to fix it. He figured it was a good excuse to lose the debt and at the same time give him a reason to shell out nearly $3K! on a brand new P100Mhz to play...was Heretic or Hexen first? Ehhh one of the two.

      I got into doing PC repair for a living when I stopped by my local shop to score some RAM sticks and heard the boss cussing his brains out. He got stuck with a truckload of Gateway Astro [thejournal.com] from some guy that owed him a grand, and while they all had restore discs no OS was installed and it refused to take the restore discs. I told him "why don't you just use a standard Win98 disc?" and he swore to me because of the funky USB everything on those it couldn't be done. I bet him the RAM sticks I wanted I could do it, and after the Win98 install simply stuck in the restore discs and installed the drivers manually. He handed me the sticks and said "Grab a seat, there are 40 more of those in the back". I ended up being "the scary biker guy in the back that does great work" for 5 years. It was funny to hear little old ladies go "is the scary biker guy here?"

      But back to the topic at hand, the problem with Worst Buy (other than they suck of course) and these other groups that offer "optimization" is they don't actually understand the customer. I too offer optimization, and my customers love it and talk about me like I walk on water. The secret? The average customer does NOT want a faster PC! I repeat, they do NOT want a faster PC they want an easier to use PC. So what I do is basically set them up a "toaster". Any customer that pays the $55 for optimization gets a PC that autoupdates, has AV set to autoscan and autoupdate, it automatically cleans the registry and temp files, defrags itself, has all the codecs (thanks to K-Lite Mega) installed, flash, Java, .NET, Silverlight, all installed, Firefox with ABP and ForecastFox installed, and finally Go Open Office and GNUCash.

      When I'm done all the customer has to do is "flip a switch and go" and THAT, not squeezing an extra couple of notches in some benchmark, is what I've found the customers REALLY want in a PC. Unlike my old boss I don't get folks coming back in a month or two infected like a Bangkok whore, but I have found the referrals more than make up for that. Give folks a good value, let them know you care about more than just their wallet, and they will go out of their way to brag on you and send business your way. Worst Buy doesn't care how bad your experience is, once they have your money and that is why they have a bad rep. Well that and the shitty service, pervs that go through your files looking for porn, geeks that don't know the right end of a screwdriver....

      • Funny, I got my first Windows PC (A 486DX running Win3.1) because the guy that had it owed me $100 and had gotten it full of malware and didn't know how to fix it.

        I call BS on that! Malware/Spyware didn't start becoming a problem until around the year 2000. At that time, most consumer PCs were still running Win98, 98SE, and the occasional WinME. It was usually bundled with shareware programs (Limewire and other P2P apps) and downloadable games. The other vector for getting them was when using Internet Explo

        • Malware/Spyware didn't start becoming a problem until around the year 2000


          Ok, now that I've had my laugh, get the fuck off my lawn.

            • Bitch please:

              1) blogspot. oooh, your sources have me trembling.
              2) spyware is not the only sort of malware.
              3) this party most certainly did not get started in the early 2000's [wikipedia.org]

              • Malware and Viri are not really the same thing. While it is true that Malware can contain (and spread) Viri, it is highly unlikely you will ever find a Virus that installs Malware. Also, Malware is presented to the user a legitimate program to be installed.

                Viri on the other hand just needs to be executed once (EXE, COM files etc) for the payload to be installed automatically and without the computer users knowledge.

                Like I said, Malware/Spyware only really started becoming a problem in 2000. And I stand behi

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 )

                  Please, you are just making yourself look silly at this point.

                  Viruses are widely considered to be a subset of malware (malware literally meaning "malicious software"). From wikipedia:

                  "Malware includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, most rootkits, spyware, dishonest adware, crimeware and other malicious and unwanted software"

                  You might have a different definition of malware, but that definition is pretty much your own. The definition to you seem to be presenting for "malware" seems more in line wit

      • So basically, you crap up their machine with a bunch of shit they don't need and/or will have a hard time using since its not consistent with any other app they use.

        Good job, you've recreated the same kind of crap setup you claim to be fixing.

        • Let me guess, you're the type that lets them loose with an unpatched Windows with no AV? No I do not put trialware, or crapware, or warez, or any of that other crap. a good 90% of mine is set up to use plain old Windows Task Scheduler to run the app at the appropriate time. But you really have to set up a lot of stuff for the clueless or you might as well just install the malware yourself and save them the effort, because they WILL get pwned otherwise.

          Every machine that leaves my shop, whether they pay for

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by obarthelemy ( 160321 )

      I find it actually easier to build from scratch and install from scratch than to try and figure out what Dell components are standard or not, what leads the PSU has... and get rid of all the junkware. It's cheaper, too, strangely.

      I've taught a couple of friends to assemble their PCs too. The key is Adamesque: Don't panic ! If you don't try fancy coolers or other things, you won't have to touch a jumper, just be careful to lay out everything, find where it fits without having to force it, and spend half an h

  • After being found out they drop it but now what will they do with systems? bill you $20 to put on windows updates? and they will still pre install them be for selling systems and only have systems with that added service in stock?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 10, 2010 @01:48PM (#30715484)
      Former GS employee here:

      The whole "pre-setup" thing was a crock from the get-go. It was SUPPOSEDLY so people who wanted the service could get a computer faster, but it just ended up being wasted labor. Myself and MANY other employees railed against this practice from the start, and of course management refused to listen.

      What would happen is we would get the ads for the next week a few days early. Of the notebooks in the ad, a certain percentage of each we got in were to have the pre-installed garbage done to it. This started out fairly low, but soon we were being pushed to have 40% of each model done this way. And of course the people on the sales floor were told to push the HELL out of these systems. Why? Because technically, if the customer truly did not want the service, we were to restore it back to factory, or simply not charge them for it. Obviously this becomes a problem when a lot of customers don't want the service and they end up getting it for free. This is where they stopped having the in-store people do said service because it was wasted labor to do something for free, and also wasted labor to remove something the customer didn't want. The solution? A heavy internal push to have all of this done by the much-hated "Agent Jonny Utah".

      Who is "Agent Jonny Utah", you might ask (other than a crappy Point Break reference)? It's nothing more than Geek Squad Outsourcing. They hook the computer up to the network, and use a customized version of LogMeIn to let someone in Bangalore or wherever do their job for them. Only half the time they don't do anywhere NEAR what a store employee would do. For example, when performing the service upon request, we would remove ALL trialware, make sure ALL updates were applied, and run a few scripts to generally make things a bit quicker and less resource-hungry. I could do about 5-8 computers at a time and have them all done inside of an hour. Agent Outsource? It would be up to 2 hours before they would even TOUCH the system, and then they would proceed to install the updates and give it a GWB-esque "Mission Complete." This meant we STILL had to do work to the computer when they were done, because they didn't really do anything to begin with.

      AJU is also the reason you don't take your computer to the store to get it cleaned up. The VAST majority of the time, they will just hook it up remotely (unless it's so infected it can't get an IP, in which case they'll just want to do a restore) and let the remote guys take a whack at it. Surprise, surprise, more often than not they botch the job. And of course when it took 3x as long because of having to re-do the work, customers got upset and WE got the blame. We were NEVER to let the customer even THINK that the machine was worked on by someone other than the people they see behind the counter.

      And this is why there is such a backlash anymore. Of the people who were there when I started in GS, only one is left. In my store (not sure about any others), we thought of ourselves as techs first and foremost. Those with that attitude were forced to change or leave, as they don't want techs. They want salesmen wearing a shirt and tie using the perception of knowledge to hock more crap. In the end, all we were there for was to sell services, but not perform them. Software? Have AJU do it. Hardware? Do they have a service plan? Ship it to Louisville. Only a manufacturer warranty? Give them the MFR number.

      When I was new to GS, it was a culture of "help the customer, get them what they need, and build lasting relationships." When I left, it had become nothing but "milk as much money out of as many people as you possibly can."

      On a final note, if you DO make the mistake of taking your PC to them for service, point blank ask them if THEY will be cleaning it, or if they're just going to hook it up to have some hackjob in Hyderabad run a few scripts and say it's done...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RobertM1968 ( 951074 )

      CompUSA used to do that ($20), but we'd actually optimize the various settings (all the tweaks that a power user would do to increase performance), remove the crapware, install all the updates, activate Windows (and Office or whatever else was bought/came with the machine), activate and update the AV/AS software, configure the network settings so the machine would go online right out of the box (keep in mind this was back in the day when Windows post-setup would pop up an idiotic list of choices on how to g

  • Best Buy will make an extra $5 per PC? How many PCs do they sell in the course of a year? This would just barely cover the wages for one of their Geek Squad dorks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Um, my guess would be millions. For a lot of people, Best Buy is the only physical retailer selling computers that have decent specs at a decent price. Yeah, some people will buy things online, but many times you can find pre-built systems cheaper at Best Buy than at any other retailer online or otherwise. It is really, really hard to beat a $300 laptop that does everything an average person wants while having a decent sized screen (15 inch) and decent sized keyboard.
      • Re:$5 per PC (Score:4, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Sunday January 10, 2010 @02:04PM (#30715596) Journal

        The problem with that is the laptop will be a smoldering hunk of plastic two minutes after the warranty expires, which kinda kills the savings. Working PC repair I have had to deal with MANY Worst Buy and Staples "$300 specials" and a good 7 out of 10 on the desktop and probably closer to 9 out of 10 on the laptops I have to tell the customer their best course of action is to shitcan it.

        Why is that? Let me count the ways they bone you on those "$300 specials": Laptops- often they will use desktop chips in the laptops, and while Intel has thankfully killed the Netburst (although as late as last year I saw a Staples special with a netburst Pentium in a laptop) even the core desktop chips are WAY too hot for the small plastic laptop cases with those pissy little fans, which equal burnt chips, melted wires, just a mess. Speaking of fans, they screw you hard on the fans for both the desktop and laptop. Shitty fans that don't cool in badly designed cases is a recipe for disaster. Again fried chips, cooked HDDs, just nasty. Shitty plastic and substandard parts. I don't even have to explain what is wrong with that. Shitty heatsinks, again no explanation needed. Starving the OS, ala "Vista Capable". Thrashed drives, overheating, sluggish performance, and that is without the crapware.

        Hell I could go on all day probably, but you get the picture. Those "$300 specials" are the most bottom of the barrel scraping junk they can throw together and frankly if it lasts 90 days past the warranty it is a miracle. I would recommend an off lease box before I would recommend a Worst Buy or Staples "$300 special" as they are 90% of the time anything but. Once in a blue moon you can a good deal on last year's model when it comes time to roll out the next one, but even then you would probably get a better deal just buying directly from the manufacturer. Just about every PC I have seen from Staples and Worst Buy that was a "$300 special" was nothing but E-waste.

        • I don't really expect this laptop to last that long, but in general, cheap laptops have served me a lot better than expensive ones. For example, a few years ago I spent all my birthday money to buy a nice $700 Dell laptop, it was pretty good for its time (512 MB of RAM, early Pentium M, nice case design, and a high-res screen) and ran fast... until 6 months into using it the power cord broke, not much of a problem, I sent it in and they sent me a new one. About 3 months after that, the motherboard died. Tha
          • by jp10558 ( 748604 )

            Well, a Dell $700 laptop is decidedly *NOT* a "good" laptop. Try a Macbook or Thinkpad T series... Of course, disposable laptops can make sense for certain use patterns, and they seem to fit yours. Nothing consumer line, especially a Dell IME, is "good". Build it yourself for a desktop, buy business model laptop or desktops or go disposable (buy one a year)...

    • Re:$5 per PC (Score:5, Informative)

      by Clover_Kicker ( 20761 ) <clover_kicker@yahoo.com> on Sunday January 10, 2010 @11:58AM (#30714782)

      The margins on PCs are ridiculously thin.

      That's why manufacturers have resorted to bundling crapware, and now apparently retailers as well.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bengie ( 1121981 )

        Since all Vista/Win7 DVDs are the same now, I just download my MSDN image and use our keys to install.

        • by jp10558 ( 748604 )

          I'm pretty sure that's against the MSDN license... Hey, it's one of the pitfalls of software(and our legal environment), you've got to follow the license, however stupid it may be. You can only use retail disks with retail keys, VLK disks with VLK keys etc... Of course you *can* ignore the license, but at that point, I've got to wonder why not just go all the way illegal and pirate it to save the money?

    • Re:$5 per PC (Score:5, Interesting)

      by acedotcom ( 998378 ) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @12:15PM (#30714906)
      well thats the thing and always has been. there is no profit in computer sales. i worked at BB for three years and learned that every time i sold a computer. it was always about the accessories and services. One time i got dragged back into in office and given a warning about my salesmanship because I helped a customer make their computer package better. They had bought $2000 worth of computer and $2500 of accessories (printers, cables, ink...all kinds of stuff). however i got yelled at because i swapped a piece of "learning place" software for a router, they had the same dollar value, but of course the router was less profit. But that wasn't the issue the REAL problem was that it lowered our stores daily sales numbers when applied to other Best Buy stores in the area (not against competing stores).

      I was instructed time and time again to "walk" customers if they weren't getting additional accessories or services, and at least once a day i did. So even though we weren't "on commission", something we were told to tell every customer, that didnt matter because we treated everyone like we were.

      i know these stories are told every time an article about Best Buy pops up, i just wish more people could hear them. It has never been about providing "exceptional products and services in a user friendly environment", it has ALWAYS been about the fact that BB loses money when they sell computers without attachments.
      • When I'm in a big box store like Best Buy, I just politely tell the salesperson to take a walk. Of course, I rarely buy from such stores, tending to go through a few trusted online sources that treat me fairly, and keep the background sales buzz to a minimum.

      • CompUSA was much the same... but more so with printers... if you sold a printer, it BETTER go out the door with a USB cable and a set of ink cartridges.

        Now some people would say "Well, duh, they need a USB cable since they dont come with printers anymore" but the simple fact is most people dont come in to buy their first printer, so most already have a printer cable, and a large portion of those people have a USB cable (while the rest had parallel).

        But again, same reasons... $0-$5 a printer doesnt make

        • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

          Instead, in their zeal to compete with each other and drive each other out of business, they've shot themselves in the foot as they've decreased their profit margin on the stuff to near zero

          The real problem is that computers are a commodity item, and they're trying to sell commodities at retail with a luxury twist. A couple of grocers can get away with selling organically grown corn, but everywhere else, corn is corn, and comes in a cardboard or wood box on a shelf. You can try and sell butter and salt and

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @11:27AM (#30714646) Homepage Journal

    of the new Virus.

  • Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davebarnes ( 158106 ) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @11:33AM (#30714676)

    "preinstalled on most PCs, except Dell and HP"
    Wonder if they are going to install it on Macs.

    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

      by gapagos ( 1264716 ) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @11:37AM (#30714696)

      It's not on HP because HP has so much junk trial software already, any more it's going to explode. Well, at least the battery will, assuming it's a laptop.

      • Agreed (Score:3, Informative)

        I did a reinstall on a friend's HP Vista laptop, and I was shocked and appalled by the amount of junk on there. The long interactive Flash video that plays when the computer is first booted would also be extremely misleading to a novice, as it appears to be offering software choices, but it's really just a bunch of advertising. This was far worse than any Dell or Sony I have worked on in the past.

        The reinstall was needed after I attempted to work on her computer and noticed she didn't even have SP1 for Vi

  • suckers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by p51d007 ( 656414 ) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @11:33AM (#30714684)
    Other than needing a router, cable or something else on an emergency basis, you get what you pay for at BB. I watch in amazement when I hear someone purchasing a computer and the blue shirt drone is trying to force them into buying all the extra crap.
    • Re:suckers (Score:5, Interesting)

      by S-100 ( 1295224 ) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @12:01PM (#30714800)
      There's not a big enough emergency in the world to get me to pay $79.95 for an HDMI cable at Best Buy. For emergency routers, external hard drives and such, I go to the 24-hour Wal-Mart SuperCenter. Always funny going up to the cashier at 3AM with milk, eggs and hard drives...
      • by BobMcD ( 601576 )

        And, I might add, in the case of a true emergency, you could return (unused) things to Walmart with a lot less difficulty, while buying more milk, eggs, etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Actually, I've compared prices and for a lot of things and Best Buy generally has some of the cheapest computers. For example, I am typing this on a Best Buy bought Toshiba that I picked up for $300, for a 15 inch screen, Celeron 900 CPU (at 2.2 ghz), 2 gigs of DDR2, a 160 GB HDD and 100% Linux compatability, its hard to beat it for the price if you are like me and are a student with minimal income. Yeah, for $100+ more you could get a really great laptop, but really, this laptop does everything I want, I
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 )
        For example, I am typing this on a Best Buy bought Toshiba that I picked up for $300, for a 15 inch screen, Celeron 900 CPU (at 2.2 ghz), 2 gigs of DDR2, a 160 GB HDD and 100% Linux compatability,

        My son has that exact same one. Bought in August. It's in for a new HD right now.
        The GeekSquad dude was surprisingly non-pushy about extra services and crap. When he asked about backups and reinstallation, "Nope, I just need a functioning hard drive". 'OK, come back Tuesday'.
      • Best Buy has decent prices for the things consumers pay attention to, and indeed something like three years ago Best Buy stopped the insane upselling pressure they were putting their customers under, but buyer beware for the things that consumers don't initially pay attention to, or initially comparison shop on.

        (Mon$ter Priced) cables, spare Lithium-Ion batteries, or returning/troubleshooting issues, those are where Best Buy will still try to screw you on. You don't have to take my word for it. Just dig up

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I bought my last laptop from Best Buy. It wasn't for me, it was for my wife. She's perfectly happy with all the crapware that's installed. I shudder at it. The computer I purchased for myself came from a military base and was too (probably) loaded with junk. I wouldn't know. I had wiped it before I even had a chance to read the Vista license agreement. Now that said system dual boots Windows 7 and Ubuntu. Not a single bit of crapware in sight on either one.

      Oh, as for my wife's system, the only thing I did w

      • by D Ninja ( 825055 )

        Not a single bit of crapware in sight on either one.

        Wait...you just finished saying Windows 7 was installed...

        Ba dum tsh!

        Thank you! I'll be here all night! Try the veal!

        (P.S. I actually like Windows 7, but, the joke popped into my head, and I'm tired...)

    • That's why I love buying online and picking up at the store. Purchased an LCD TV for my parents for Christmas and didn't have to deal with anyone trying to push me to purchase an extended warranty, over-priced cables, TV stand, receiver, DirecTV service or anything. I probably could have saved $50 by purchasing from a reputable online store, but it was pretty darn convenient to pick it up that same day. I also got to laugh at the 50+ people in line buying stuff while I was in and out of the store in 10 m
  • Best Buy Sucks (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Antisyzygy ( 1495469 ) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @12:04PM (#30714820)
    Having worked for Geek Squad one summer while in college, I can say that the services they offer are overpriced and not a good value. Management told me time and time again to sell more of their 300 dollar advanced diagnostics tests to people that were suffering from simple issues. They try to package everything into ridiculously priced "package deals". Meanwhile, we werent given the tools to solve many of the problems they claimed we could do, and also encouraged us to try to fix. Its a simple problem of idiotic management, over-zealous marketing, and crappy tools. Don't use Geek Squad, and dont use this stupid utility they are trying to push on everyone. I would bet its just another attem
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 10, 2010 @01:13PM (#30715232)

      I would bet its just another attem

      Shit! The Geek Squad already got him!

    • It's hard to sell a $300 service package when a new computer is $300.
      • Not sure, as I don't iPhone at all. However, all of that crapware you see is there because back in the day, people were pissed that the new $2000+ computer they bought had no software, so they had to spend $1000 or more on that before they could do anything. Retailers like Best Buy made big deals with the PC makers and software companies to preload this junk so they could rightly advertise that the machine came ready to run with all of that software. Unfortunately, the software loaded was never top-shelf
        • by jp10558 ( 748604 )

          I suppose it depends, but on my IBM Aptiva I got in 1995, it did come loaded with the full version of Lotus SmartSuite which included 1-2-3... It also (for some reason) came with MS Works. It was good in that I don't actually recall getting trialware except for the ISP links, but actually full version software. Then again, I suppose at $3500, they could throw in some software.

  • Best Buy's stance (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 10, 2010 @12:06PM (#30714830)
    Geek Squad employee here, I read an internal document that said the complete opposite. I thought about making a copy for myself and taking it home, but I'm not quite that ballsy.

    From that memo, it seems that Best Buy admits that there's not much of a speed boost in it, certainly not $40 worth, but they still justify it as a time-saving procedure. That is, if you're some CEO and have a shitload of money but little time, then you don't want to waste it uninstalling trials of NetZero and Microsoft Works (which we don't actually uninstall anymore, we just prevent it from starting up automatically, since some customers complained that their new computers came without the great software trials that HP/Sony/Toshiba advertised).

    It didn't seem like they wanted to stop the service, although they DID remind everyone that optimizing more computers than are likely to be sold and then making customers pay for them even if they don't want it is illegal and a bait-and-switch. Which is great, because the managers here in a central North Carolina store were seriously considering optimizing 90% of stock and trying to get rich that way. Bastards.
  • by eples ( 239989 ) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @12:32PM (#30714992)
    Yeah, no kidding they dropped the program. This type of fraud is called "bait and switch [wikipedia.org]", and it is ILLEGAL.
    • It's not bait and switch if they stop offering a service in favor of suggestive selling. If they claimed they still offered it that would be another thing, but since it came to our attention, obviously they're not hiding it.
      • by eples ( 239989 )
        Right, but BEFORE they dropped it, it was certainly bait and switch. Which is why they dropped it. Which is what I said.
  • Incorrect summary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rudeboy777 ( 214749 ) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @01:46PM (#30715472)
    instead of you paying Best Buy to delete trialware from your new PC, Best Buy will get paid by software makers to try to get you to install it

    The summary is incorrect. As we learned in the previous Slashdot story, Best Buy's "optimization" service DID NOT delete the trialware for you. They just hid the shortcuts so that the 30-day Norton would still nag you to buy it when the time was up.

    If these changes from BB mean trial trash is actually NOT installed, but rather a Best Buy app that links to the trial download, then this is absolutely a step in the right direction - especially if you can get your hands on your parents computer to uninstall the BB app before they try any of the "helpful" suggestions. Bestbuy still gets their software industry kickback to subsidize the system's low price and mom and dad's new PCs don't run like shit.
  • Misunderstanding (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mostly Harmless ( 48610 ) <mike_peteNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Sunday January 10, 2010 @02:29PM (#30715794) Homepage
    The problem with the Geek Squad is that Best Buy managers are often so far removed from what the Geek Squad is and how it should work that it becomes a poorly managed mess in many stores. This is the crux of the issues many people have with the Geek Squad.

    The truth is that the optimization service is a good one for many people. Best Buy creates the specifics of the optimization service based on feedback from their customers and from the Geek Squad Agents who work on their computers. You must realize that for the majority of the Geek Squad's customers, a computer (tower) is a "router," Toshiba is "Toshibia," Linksys is "Linksky," Windows 7 is "Windows Veesta 7," and that's only if they know the difference between Windows and MS Office (which MANY do not). We're not talking about people with even passing computer knowledge. For these people, not having an icon for Internet Explorer or My Computer on their desktop (as is the case in many freshly-purchased machines) is akin to having a car with no steering wheel or pedals. The optimization service is designed to maximize the usability of a new computer for those customers who need it.

    The optimization service takes some time (30 minutes to an hour) to complete. To save customers some time, the Geek Squad will "pre-optimize" a small percentage of their computers. In doing this, they are not violating any laws provided they leave any minimum available quantity (if stated in the weekly ad) unopened. If you attempt to purchase a computer and all they have left are pre-optimized units, they are required to sell you the computer at the normal retail price. They can not force you to pay the optimization fee. They do have the option, however, to restore the computer to factory defaults before they allow you to leave with it, and they do not have to give you an open-box discount. If employees are breaking these rules (laws) it is because of the poor management I referred to earlier, but it is certainly not company policy.

    The real villains here are Microsoft and the computer manufacturers for not providing a consistent and customer-friendly experience for new computer buyers. Some of it comes from simply economics and marketing: manufacturers can reduce selling cost by including loads of trial software, not including MS Office and antivirus software, etc. The savings are then (misleadingly) passed to the customer. (I am sure, though, that Best Buy's enormous purchasing power has some say in what the manufacturers do, though.)
    • The real villains here are Microsoft and the computer manufacturers for not providing a consistent and customer-friendly experience for new computer buyers.

      I believe they tried that once. It was called "Bob", and as I recall, it didn't go over so well.

    • You must be an Agent or a former Agent.

      As a former Agent myself, thank you for attempting to express that the individual employees aren't trying to scam anyone and that WHEN FOLLOWING COMPANY POLICY, management isn't either.

      However, managers everywhere go and screw the pooch.

      • by BobMcD ( 601576 )

        You must be an Agent or a former Agent.

        I had the same thought. I worked for them back before the GS Kool Aid got passed out, and guess what - things haven't changed a bit.

        I know what you 'Agents' were told, and I know you're wired to believe it, but unfortunately it just isn't true.

        Back to the OP:

        The problem with the Geek Squad is that Best Buy managers are often so far removed from what the Geek Squad is and how it should work that it becomes a poorly managed mess in many stores. This is the crux of the issues many people have with the Geek Squad.

        No, close, but no. The problem is that Best Buy corporate LIED to you about the mission. GS exists to expand Best Buy's bottom line, period. If they really were some altruistic, independent entity then the overlaps wouldn't exist. Agents wouldn't w

  • Delete trialware? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pgn674 ( 995941 ) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @02:32PM (#30715820) Homepage

    .' Translation: instead of you paying Best Buy to delete trialware from your new PC,

    I thought the Best Buy optimization thing only removed the shortcut icons to the trialware, and didn't actually uninstall or delete any of it?

  • New or used PC, download and run The PC Decrapifier [pcdecrapifier.com] Below is a list of programs it will remove. Very simple to use.

    AOL Install
    AOL UK
    AOL US
    Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI
    Corel Photo Album 6
    Corel Snapfire Plus SE
    Corel WordPerfect
    Dell Search Assistant
    Dell URL Assistant
    Digital Content Portal
    Earthlink Setup Files
    ESPN Motion
    Get High Speed Internet!
    Google Desktop
    Google Toolbar
    HP Rhapsody
    Internet Service Offers Launcher
    Microsoft Office Activation Assistant 2007
    Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007
    Microsoft O

  • When we purchased our 42inch LCD last year, we had already figured out which TV we wanted, and went to the local BestBuy store to get it. First thing we did when we were approached by one of their people...

    "We're here for this TV, and only this TV. We're not interested in extended warranties, or home theater systems and overpriced cables, and we're not interested in someone coming to our house to set it up. We're both experienced IT individuals, we've already got great HDMI and optical cables from monopr

    • by BobMcD ( 601576 )


      I have, on occasion, bought a computer this way as well. If you know what you want and actually shop the prices on it, eventually Best Buy will beat the online vendors.

      Personally I prefer that 14-day window to swap it for a new one to dealing with shipping issues online. And I have in fact used it enough times to worry about it.

  • Their thing "saves you time by making it easy to discover new software, then download and install with a single click".

    That's a description of Synaptic and apt-get.
  • Manufacturers are paid by vendors to put crapware on the PCs. Then retailers (BestBuy) is paid by a vendor to hide/remove the other vendors' crapware that paid the manufacturer to put it on. Then BestBuy is shafting the manufacturing vendors in favour for their vendor. Piss off the manufacturing vendors that pay the manufacturers, which in turn pisses off the manufacturers... what could go wrong?

    This is like when the DVR first came out you could skip (not just fast forward) entire commercials. The people

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus