40% Geek Squad Downsizing Memo? Not That I Know Of, Says Founder

When reached for comment, Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens said he knew nothing about 40% tech staff reduction / have-more-repairs-done-remotely-by-techs-in-India memo as described by our tipster. In fact, he said he’d like to see it if we did ever end up getting it. Anyhow, as far as staff reductions go Stephens said, “There has been restructuring since we launched within Best Buy and the most recent was back in Jan/Feb but that’s old news – and quite public.”

Regarding AJU in general, “…AJU (a beta name, by the way – and an admittedly really bad reference to a really bad Keanu Reeves movie) is a program that is really is innovative. You see, when you bring your PC to us, we need to run a lot of standard checks – including virus and spyware scans. With the size of hard drives today it can take hours to scan a single hard drive. Why use live people at the counter to run basic scans on your computer when they could be helping customers in the store? I’d rather use those Counter Intelligence Agents to deal with the people coming into the store – rather than have their backs to you running virus scans. They both rely on each other,” said Stephens.

Sounds good, as long as the wait times aren’t getting increased as computers wait in the queue, like one Geek Squad agent said they are. Perhaps the solution really is to hire even more techs in India! — BEN POPKEN


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  1. Havok154 says:

    Well I could see the wait times rising due to increased work-load. Now that CompUSA is closing 1/2 their stores, the only real brick and morter store people know to go to for repairs are Best Buy. In fact, I end up having to tell people to go there when they come in, since we no longer are accepting repairs.

  2. mopar_man says:

    In fact, I end up having to tell people to go there when they come in, since we no longer are accepting repairs.

    You couldn’t have sent them to a competent computer repair facility? Best Buy is the last place I would tell anybody to go for computer repairs.

  3. Scuba Steve says:

    @mopar_man: Unless you were worried about having someone do better repairs than you. Then it’s just smart business.

  4. Buran says:

    What do you expect from corporate scumbags? I once contacted a company who was reported to be in negotiations with another company, telling them how against the move I was as a customer. The response outright denied the whole issue.

    Guess what was in the news the next day?

    I should have reported that asshole to the highups and how he lied to me. This was a decade ago, too, before all the recent corporate scandals. Nice to know companies can still lie through their teeth.

  5. moorie679 says:

    The sad part of this is that Geek Squad’s founder had a great idea and Best Buy turned it into sh*t for a quick buck.

    And to the founder if he is reading this… I watched a video of you talking about your company at the early market development stages in one of my management classes, it seemed like a great company to work for and to do business with you also talked about how customer was the number one priority however this has changed. I hope you can turn this around because it is nice to know there are companies/businesses out there with a conscience.

  6. mac-phisto says:

    With the size of hard drives today it can take hours to scan a single hard drive.

    wow, this guy obviously knows nothing at all about computers.

  7. Jackal9834 says:

    I saw the last article and this one, think about it Geek Squad employs thousands of people across the US and Canada.

    If Geek Squad were to cut 40% of their workforce, that’s something you’d hear about on CNN or in the Wall Street Journal, that’s the loss of at least 4,000 Geek Squad Employees.

    Some fact checking needs to be done before this stuff makes it on the front page. I noticed Robert said “I’d like to see a copy of the memo if you get it.” Shouldn’t you have the memo before putting up a story like that?

  8. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @mac-phisto: For real my 500Gb drive takes about 6 min to run an spyware program and maybe 10 min to do a Antivirus scan.

  9. moorie679 says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: How much data do you have in your 500GB HD and what kind is it? What is your system build?

    I would love to own one of those because not to sound like a dick but my 500GB SATA HD has about 200GB of data in it and with Kaspersky it takes about 45 mins to an hour to scan it.

    4GB Ram, 3.33 Ghz Smithfield.

  10. c41cifer says:

    @mac-phisto & @Nemesis_Enforcer

    What a great world if Viruses and Spyware were the only computer problems! Seriously, how much data is on your 500GB Drive? And have you ever scanned that drive with a diagnostic tool to make sure it’s functioning properly? GS does more than just scan for Virus and Spyware as part of their diagnostic process. BTW, do your feet get wet when you are walking on water?

  11. JohnMc says:

    Hmmmm. Excuse me. Is the founder telling us that a Geeker would sit there for 6 hours looking at the screen waiting for a 160Gb hard drive scan to finish? Or even those in India doing the same? I think not. You kick it off and then turn around and serve the next customer.

    It’s called multitasking, I do it all day long. Ben I think you have been flimflammed.

  12. mac-phisto says:

    @c41cifer: what’s with the hostility? i scan multiple computers with multiple diagnostic tools & it has never taken me “hours to scan a single drive”…at least not since windows 2000 (i remember a defrag used to be an overnite venture on win95). it doesn’t even take me hours to deep scan a 4-drive RAID array on a 6-yr old file server at work (it takes about 30 minutes). & i highly doubt people are bringing those into the gs.

    granted, most ppl coming to geek squad probably have 3-4 year old computers & have never so much as run a disk cleanup, but this is a b.s. argument. “we need to outsource & reduce pay to our in-house staff to increase profit margin at best buy.” that would be the accurate version of what’s going on here.

  13. shdwsclan says:

    In the early 80s, a computer programmer/engineer and a computer operator were the same thing.
    Boy, how the world has changed.

  14. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @c41cifer: Actually I have 3 500gb drives as backup and a 120gb 10,000rpm drive as my main drive. All of them are Sata drives. And I have about 300-400 gb on each drive except the 120gb one. I run Adaware,Spybot and A-squared for spyware everyday and I run my anti-virus every 3 days and I run a diagnostic program automatically upon every shut down. So I can say that it usually doesent take very long. I admit I keep my drives in good shape. So I wouldn’t say thats across the board or it might not be the same across the board but YMMV. I have seen diagnostics and spyware programs take hours only on computers that are royally fucked where ppl just surf everywhere and click on a lot of popups and install BS programs. But after running several programs they run a lot faster.

    @moorie679: I am running a Athlon 64 X2 6000 overclocked to 3.4ghz with 4gb of ram and dual Geforce 8800 GTX video cards SLI. So I know I got a screaming system and others will have different times. i was just reffering to his exageration of how long it takes to do simple scans..

  15. moorie679 says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: nice build but very expensive.

  16. xarnx says:

    @mac-phisto – Having participated in the process… I can say with absolute certainty that some of the scans that AJU runs take between one and three hours to run. Ewido used to run upwards of three hours on nastified computers with full hard drives, some of the virus scans run on full bore can take that much or more. On the remote connection you just kick off one or two scanners and flip to the next computer in the queue, then check on it later.

    What you have to realize is these aren’t tuned geek machines, they’re five year old dell laptops with 256 MB of RAM running XP. Trying to defrag a 95% full, 30% fragmented drive with no space for a swap file and 256 megs of RAM takes forever.

    The labor’s part of the equation, obviously paying a contracted company for overseas labor should be cheaper (if it isn’t, someone at Best Buy should be fired), but the other major gain is in productivity. When you don’t have to deal with customers every five minutes you can bust out a whole lot more repairs – AJU techs can bust out easily twice to three times the machines that a store tech can. Plus you gain the ability to move your labor pool around, so if one store has no computers, you can have your remote techs work on those at a different store.