Apple geniuses make 56 percent more than Geek Squad agents

Nicholas Carlson · 09/04/08 07:00PM

Company-review site Glassdoor says that according to employees at both companies, Apple's repair technicians — known as "geniuses," with the attitude to match — make $18.30 per hour and $36,000 per year on average. That's about 56 percent more than Best Buy's Geek Squad "agents," who earn $11.58 per hour and $23,000 per year. The reason for the difference? Apple's "geniuses" are tasked with repairing beautiful objects that restore your sense of childlike wonder, whilst their Best Buy counterparts open tickets on junk in black plastic cases. Right, Steve?

Hologram Ushers You Into Best Buy

Hamilton Nolan · 08/28/08 02:49PM

Hm, how to grab shoppers' attention in the cavernous Mall of America, without having to pay some kid $7 an hour to stand there passing out fliers? A hologram man, sent from the future! It's only a matter of time now until Terminator-like robots patrol our nation's food courts, gesturing menacingly with their whirring appendages, their fixed gaze wordlessly urging you to check out the new Sears bathmat sale at the price of your life. For now, though: Best Buy employee holograms. Watch the ghostly salesman give his ever-repeating spiel, below: Click to view
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Report: Best Buy won't profit selling iPhones

Nicholas Carlson · 08/15/08 10:40AM

Best Buy will begin selling Apple iPhones this September, but it won't make much or any money at all doing so, according to retail analyst Colin McGranahan, who writes in a not the chain won't markup the phone more than $50 if at all. So why's Best Buy doing it? One, to sell higher-margin accessories like iPhone cases and speakers. Two, iPhone buyers are the kind of customers Best Buy wants to see more of in its stores — wealthy, and happily swayed by good marketing into buying the lastest shiny new objects.

Best Buy agrees to sell iPhone

Nicholas Carlson · 08/13/08 12:20PM

Electronics retailer Best Buy will begin selling Apple's iPhone 3G next month. Until now, only Apple Stores and AT&T outlets carried the phone. Like Apple Store customers, Best Buy shoppers must sign a two-year AT&T contract to leave the store with an iPhone. [WSJ]

Inside the BitTorrent collapse

Owen Thomas · 08/07/08 05:40PM

BitTorrent has denied our report that the company laid off 12 out of 55 employees. That may be true: While our source told us 12 employees were on the layoff list, we've learned that, at the last minute, the jobs of two sales engineers, an HR manager, and an office manager were spared. Another tipster — "you can guess as to whether I'm an insider or not" — says that the BitTorrent layoffs aren't the fault of new CEO Doug Walker, who came to the those-crazy-kids file-sharing startup to add some enterprise-software gravitas. Instead, the elimination of BitTorrent's sales and marketing departments amounts to a coup by cofounders Bram Cohen and Ashwin Navin, pictured here to Walker's right and left, who are giving up on the notion of marketing BitTorrent's file-sharing technology to businesses and hardware makers, and instead pinning their hopes on becoming an "Internet peace corps."That's the second time I've heard that phrase from BitTorrent tipsters, so I'm guessing it's already widely used, if poorly understood, within the company. Anyone care to explain what an "Internet peace corps" is — and how this plan will pay back BitTorrent's investors, who have invested at least $24 million in the company? Our tipster also says Walker's trying to raise a third round of financing amidst this uproar. Here's his detailed recounting of BitTorrent's woes:

BitTorrent Inc. laying off 12 of 55 employees

Owen Thomas · 08/06/08 11:40AM

BitTorrent Inc., the file-sharing startup whose underlying technology is responsible for much of the piracy that plagues Hollywood, is laying off its sales and marketing department. The immediate cause of the layoffs: A failure to sell the Torrent Entertainment Network, BitTorrent's attempt at an online media store, to Best Buy for a rumored $15 million. That deal fell apart, a BitTorrent insider believes, because of a recent FCC ruling on file sharing. CEO Doug Walker, who replaced troubled founder Bram Cohen last fall, had hinted at a rethink of the store in March. Walker's also said to be rethinking BitTorrent's "DNA" service, which sought to offer businesses a cut-rate online content-deliver service, using file-sharing technology to undercut Limelight and Akamai's prices. BitTorrent is now thinking about making the service free, which would certainly count as "cut-rate" — but also suggests that it hadn't had much success selling it.

Getting the "Sex" date you never wanted with the Geek Squad

Melissa Gira Grant · 05/30/08 02:00PM

Trying to download the Sex and the City movie last night, I had to wonder, When is a torrent site more comfort than a Cosmo? If you can't fulfill your Sex-seeking ladylove's needs with some unpacked .rar files, I understand. So does Best Buy's Geek Squad, which is offering rescue packages composed of quarters and excuses for men who don't want to lose quality videogame time to the premiere of the world's most commercially viable feature-length shoe porn. Geek Squad has it only half-right: Why not save your quarters and hire a girl to be professional company at the multiplex — for your girlfriend? (Photo: Daniella Zalcman)

Best Buy's Geek Squad celebrates death of noted pedophile Arthur C. Clarke tonight

Owen Thomas · 03/19/08 06:00PM

Best Buy's Geek Squad is holding a memorial tonight to honor Arthur C. Clarke. Alas. Everyone was far too polite to say this about the recently deceased sci-fi writer: Had he lived in the U.S. rather than Sri Lanka, he'd be a prime membership candidate for the North American Man-Boy Love Association. "Once they have reached the age of puberty, it is OK... It doesn't do any harm," Clarke told the U.K.'s Sunday Mirror in 1998. More or less exiled from Britain over his underage affairs, he continued to pursue them in the South Asian island nation. Authorities there turned a blind eye. This is all well known among the more sophisticated realms of fandom — but not, apparently, Best Buy headquarters in South Richfield, Minn. At 8:01 p.m., every Geek Squad repairman will pause to think reverently of a champion of child abuse. The press release:

Mary Jane Irwin · 02/26/08 02:54PM

Apple is now the second largest music retailer, beating Best Buy, in the United States. NPD Group, the market-research firm which tracks sales, estimates 12 single-song downloads as an album. Why don't they just count revenues? That would be easier. [BusinessWeek]

The Top Ten Enemies Of Bloggers

Nick Douglas · 02/25/08 09:58PM

"They're toads," Tony Kornheiser recently said about bloggers on a radio show for which he is paid good money. "They're little toads. Actually, they're pimples on the behind of the greater body politic in this country and in this city. And because, because they have access to airwaves and three or four people read them, they think, 'Oh, I'm very important.'" Kind of like radio hosts! But enough of that goofball, there are nine bigger blogger-haters who deserve derision — not because bloggers don't deserve constant mockery, but because insulting an entire class of people always guarantees failure.

Best Buy caught engaging in act of capitalism

Jordan Golson · 02/15/08 05:40PM

Sales clerks at a number of TV retailers in Massachusetts gave inaccurate information regarding the upcoming analog-to-digital television conversion. Imagine that: Sales clerks giving inaccurate information! The switch will require users of older televisions to purchase a basic set-top box partially subsidized by the government, but does not require viewers to buy a new TV. Eric Bourassa, a consumer advocate with MassPIRG, which commissioned the study, says "retailers should do a better job training their staff so that going forward, consumers that go into the stores can get the right information."

Best Buy loses woman's laptop, gets sued for $54 million

Nicholas Carlson · 02/12/08 08:00PM

Raelyn Campbell wants $54 million from Best Buy. She bought a $1,100 laptop and a $300 warranty for it from Best Buy in 2006. The next May, the laptop's on/off switch broke and Campbell brought it into the store for repairs. The store told her she'd have it back in two to six weeks. That didn't happen.

Jordan Golson · 01/29/08 02:42PM

Sprint Nextel has revived serious discussions with startup Clearwire to form a joint venture that would bring in funding from the likes of Intel, Google and Best Buy to build a high-speed wireless network using WiMax technology. [WSJ]

Jordan Golson · 12/18/07 12:50PM

Best Buy's quarterly profit stormed up 52 percent because of strong sales and fewer discounts than last year. Margin benefited from the "more rational" environment. Same-store sales climbed 6.7 percent. [WSJ]

Guitar Hero Spreads Peace and Love and Shredding

Joshua Stein · 12/12/07 04:10PM

We had to go to Best Buy today to buy some shit. I hate it there. The blue-shirted khaki-clad workers are like a poor mercenary brand of brigands gussied up to look like regulars. When they ask, "Can I help you?" they really aren't sure and most times they can't. Anyway! On the second floor in those mockups of entertainment centers, a group of 30 men and women had gathered around one screen where a fierce game of Guitarhero was taking place.

CompUSA packs it in

Jordan Golson · 12/11/07 05:40PM

Those Brits really have a way with words. The witty writers at British IT rag The Register summed it up so well: "CompUSA goes tits up." The computer retailer, which closed a number of stores earlier this year (including one half a mile from my house, natch), has sold itself to Gordon Brothers, a "restructuring specialist" which plans to close CompUSA's remaining 103 locations. The stores will run through Christmas and offer "attractive bargains" to shoppers. will be closed once current purchases are shipped. This, folks, is why they call Best Buy a "category killer." (Photo by cubicleman)

Nicholas Carlson · 10/15/07 03:21PM

Microsoft and Best Buy are liable for subscribing the retailer's customers to Microsoft's Internet service, MSN, without consent, the Supreme Court ruled today by overturning a lower court's ruling on an appeal. One question the Supremes should have asked: "Who in their right mind subscribes to dialup anymore?" [AP]