Best Buy Gobbles Up Speakeasy

Best Buy today agreed to purchase leading independent DSL provider Speakeasy, starting Q1 2008.

Hm, how long will it take BBB to turn Speakeasy, which boasts very high customer satisfaction and loyalty levels, into shit…

“Great choice sir, but to get the fullest experience out of that dedicated T-1 line, you’ll need to get some of these Monster HDMI cables and an extended warranty protection plan. Oh, and a dongle.” — BEN POPKEN

Best Buy Acquires Speakeasy [Official Press Release]

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  1. Scott says:

    A number of threads going on about this in Seattle, we’re all quite worried that our favorite ISP will be ground into meat, with calls mysteriously now going to untrained techs overseas and legendary uptime tanking.

    Speakeasy is a premium service, and many of the folks who pay for it know that – please please please don’t screw it up!

  2. motherwell says:

    I was a Speakeasy customer for about 2 weeks. DSL just cannot match the speed of cable. However, when I decided to cancel my new service, Speakeasy CS was as nice as can be and made the whole process painless. Which is why I would of recommended them to friends if they needed DSL.

    Anyway, when I got the merger email this morning the first thing I thought was “damn, there goes a good company.”

    Here’s a quote from the email I found humorous:

    “…Best Buy, an innovative and growing Fortune 100 company and the top consumer electronics retailer in North America.” Heh.

  3. Karl says:

    SIGH.

    Their press release only mentions small businesses, blah blah blah. I wonder if their consumer customers will wind up getting screwed. I’ve been with Speakeasy since 2001, but perhaps it’s time to start eyeing new ISPs.

  4. rsm00th says:

    I’m a speakeasy customer in California and I was shocked to read the release this morning in my email. Speakeasy has been a shining standout among crappy ISPs here. Like McCheese said, we all pay a premium for the Speakeasy difference and that difference is top-notch quality and fast, responsive and knowledgable customer/tech support.

    It’s a shame to see Best Buy swoop in, and while it’s too early to write Speakeasy off, common-sense tells us that Best Buy is going to simply ruin this great company.

  5. Mobius says:

    Geek Squad used to be a small, very competent tech support company here in the Twin Cities until Best Buy bought them and turned them into minimum wage, techbench monkeys. I predict the same for Speakeasy. I don’t see any good coming from this. Oh well. Good luck, Speakeasy customers!

  6. buck09 says:

    nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    [gasp]

    That sucks. Seriously sucks. WTF does Best Buy need with a boutique ISP anyways?

  7. Mr_Human says:

    Will somebody please put Best Buy out of our misery?

  8. spidra says:

    I was horrified to see that announcement in my Inbox this morning. Speakeasy isn’t cheap, but I’m willing to pay extra for superior customer service. Speakeasy has been exemplary up to this point and well worth the premium. Reports are that Geek Squad has hoovered since being acquired by Best Buy. I’m really afraid of what’s going to happen. I have been able to recommend Speakeasy to friends without reservation up to this point. What the hell is it with American business that things have to be acquire and merged until it’s all one big bureaucratic lowest common denominator mess? What’s wrong with having a quality company that has sustainable growth without becoming Engulf & Devour (Mel Brooks reference there….)??

  9. Ran Kailie says:

    My first thought upon seeing that email this morning?

    “aww shit.”

    I won’t write them off immediately but I’ll definitely be looking.

  10. niccernicus says:

    “you’ll need to get some of these Monster HDMI cables and an extended warranty protection plan. Oh, and a dongle.”

    Perhaps the Geek Squad can superglue that dongle into your PC for you. Call it a “permanent” fix for your bluetooth (ex.) needs.

  11. John Stracke says:

    Bloody hell.

    Sigh. Well, I was already considering moving my domains to a Xen service, and moving my IP access to cable (for the bandwidth–my wife’s gotten into Second Life).

  12. Starfury says:

    Retail store buying an ISP? Why? Doesn’t make snese to me.

  13. Artki says:

    > Hm, how long will it take BBB to turn Speakeasy, which boasts very high customer satisfaction and loyalty levels, into shit…

    12 to 18 months.

  14. bokononist says:

    I already cancelled Speakeasy. I’m signed-up for Comcast Business now. We’ll see how that works out.

  15. tcabeen says:

    When I use the word so often myself, I can’t explain why I’m put off to see “shit” said in a respectable blog. Not a complaint, per se. More of an observation.

    On topic: I am SO GLAD that high speed internet is included with my rental. I absolutely dread and loathe having to deal with such things, because I innately feel that they’re all evil.

    As for speakeasy, I’ve heard such good things, but have never found myself within their service area…

  16. aseriesoftubes says:

    For over 5 years, I worked for a company that was eventually purchased by Best Buy. Best Buy promised to operate the company as an “independent, wholly-owned subsidiary,” and to maintain the company’s dedication to superior customer service. They kept their promise for about 18 months, after which the company had been completely dismantled and bastardized by Best Buy.

    Expect the same to happen to Speakeasy. In fact, I’d bet that full bastardization will take well less than 12 months, considering Speakeasy’s relatively small size and the fact that BBY is starting to get good at assimilating smaller companies. It’s a shame–Speakeasy was a great company!

  17. rekoil says:

    Another despairing Speakeasy customer here…

    I’d be interesting in any collective knowledge regarding any remaining independent DSL ISPs that may be worth giving my business to once BBB grinds Speakeasy into dust. Unfortunately, AFACT else seems to consider SE’s high-end residential packages as if they were business packages, with prices to match (where “high-end residential” means 6M/768K ADSL with static IPs, delivered on a “naked” pair).

    If anyone has suggestions, please speak up!

  18. Hey, SpeakEasy got 1.2 times revenue. That is a sweet deal in this market.

    I would of taken it in a second.

  19. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    Not only will you have to buy the super HDMI cables, you’ll have to pay for Geek Squad installation and optimization of all the computers on your network. :)

  20. mac-phisto says:

    where am i gonna speedtest now?!?! :*-(

  21. wezelboy says:

    I’d be more sad if I actually lived in their service area.

  22. mhuman says:

    My reply to Bruce Chatterly at broadband@speakeasy.net:

    Bruce,

    I certainly hope this will not diminish the high level of customer service that Speakeasy offers as Best Buy is notorious for its terrible customer service. Thank you for the notification.

    Thanks,
    Matthew K

    I hope someone will actually read it.

  23. axiomatic says:

    So now there is a Speakeasy internal and external website for pricing right? (evil grin)

    (a la Best Buys internal web site shenanigans)

  24. Sqube says:

    That’s a damn shame right there.

    You Speakeasy users might want to look into some alternatives; BB is going to castrate your ISP before this time next year.

  25. wesrubix says:

    I think terrorists have a way to win the hearts of many Americans now…

    BLOW UP BEST BUY. REALLY. HARD.

    And… my favorite speedtest might not work anymore. Or lie depending on where I try to access it…

  26. bloodr says:

    This makes me sad, as a Speakeasy customer I’ve been nothing but happy with this ISP. This this news it means I’ll be moving along to another ISP as there is no doubt in my mind in a few months my tech support calls will be answered by some dude in India.

  27. crappedcrusader says:

    I found a forum thread over at SA that contains the body of an e-mail sent to speakeasy members concerning the buy-out. It also contains a FAQ about the transaction and what to expect as a customer.

    http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?s=&threadi

    Its only a matter of time before customer service levels drop below that of Verizon’s DSL.

  28. BeachBill says:

    When I read the announcement in my e-mail this morning, the first thing I thought was “is this April First?” Not a very nice April Fools Joke if it is, and a nightmare if it’s not.

    The most humorous statement in that announcement was “Best Buy, like Speakeasy, is known for its high level of customer service”.

    Best Buy is known for extremely BAD customer service. I guess $$$ does cloud ones vision. Let’s hope Bruce is correct in that Speakeasy will remain the same and run independently from the corporate nightmare that is Best Buy. If not, I know many people who will be shopping for a new ISP.

    Hey bokononist, good luck with Comcast. Be prepared to have legitimate e-mail to you rejected by their spam filter.

  29. veronykah says:

    I have to agree with most of the above posters, when I got the email from Speakeasy this morning my first reaction was “OH NO!”.
    Why why why does this have to happen to such an amazing company?
    I left Verizon after ridiculously slow DSL and an incorrect bill that took over a YEAR to correct. I never looked back, Speakeasy is nothing short of AMAZING after being with Verizon and dealing with that disaster.
    I hope someone sees what is going on with Speakeasy and fills the void.
    I will really miss being able to open a “service ticket” online, ask a question and have an answer in 5 MINUTES!

  30. llanim says:

    I too was shocked when I saw this in my inbox this morning. Despite higher prices, I have stayed with Speakeasy because they were small, non-corporate and professional. Even if service does stay as is, I will likely find another ISP because I do not want to give my money to Best Buy. And yet, I do not want Verizon in my life and I do not want an account with any cable company.

    I guess it’s time to go back to bway. (And bway, if you’re reading this, perhaps you should offer SE customers who don’t want to be Best Buy customers some sort of conversion deal.)

  31. Derp says:

    Man, what a bunch of whiners…. that’s how businesses get ahead in retail, by staying innovative and constantly offering new services to stay in business!

  32. Well, given the fact that I spent 1.5hrs on hold for hosting support yesterday at work before giving up, another hour at home late in the evening before giving up followed by another hour this morning before giving up I feel it’s safe to say that BestBuy finally killed Speakeasy :(