Is Windows Vista Making Geek Squad Rich?
Perhaps The VAR Guy pursued the wrong career. He’s blogging for free, but could be making $229 per hour or so — that’s nearly $460,000 a year — troubleshooting Windows Vista PCs for his neighbors. That may sound a little far fetched. But check out this amazing math, using some quick cost estimates from The Geek Squad.
Consumers are actually paying Geek Squad a hefty fee ($129 to $229) to set up and optimize their Windows Vista PCs. Can you imagine paying Steve Jobs to come over and plug in your iMac? Or calling Linus Torvalds to re-boot Linux? The VAR Guy thinks not. Here’s a look at the fees Geek Squad is charging to keep all of those poor Windows Vista customers up-and-running.
First, a little bit of background. The photo accompanying this blog entry features a house in The VAR Guy’s neighborhood. (Nice crib, eh?) One of The VAR Guy’s neighbor’s purchased a Dell laptop about a year ago, featuring Windows Vista and 1 gigabyte of RAM. Well, we all know where this story is heading. The laptop took forever to boot up and didn’t function when multiple applications were running.
Obviously, something must have been terribly wrong. Or, maybe not. In this case, The Geek Squad determined that the laptop had too many craplets (free software applets) installed. Plus, Vista was a memory hog. (Amazing forensics work by The Geek Squad, don’t you think?)
This same scenario repeated itself recently at several neighboring homes. Perhaps it’s time to set up a neighborhood watch, protecting everyone from Vista and providing everyone safe passage to Macintoshes or Linux.
This Is Laughable
Oh, and about those Geek Squad support costs. For $129, Geek Squad offers to “deliver your computer and set it up with you.” An agent, the Geek Squad says, will:
- Stay as long as it takes to ensure your system is running properly.
- Get you connected to the Internet.
- Perform a Network Security Check to keep your files safe.
The VAR Guy doesn’t know how long it takes to work such miracles in the Vista world. But he can safely say his MacBook Pro and his Dell PC running Ubuntu each took less than 10 minutes to set up. Oh, and there were no craplets or annoying security applets to deactivate.
But Wait. It Gets Worse
Back in the Vista world, there are plenty of additional services to purchase. For $229, Geek Squad offers a Basic Security consultation that will “maximize your computer’s performance with more than 100 enhancements.” For that $229 sum, an agent will:
- Personalize your computer to your needs.
- Remove all unnecessary clutter. (“Including Vista?” The VAR Guy wonders.)
- Install critical updates.
- Install security and privacy software to ward off viruses and spyware.
Translation: For a mere $229, Geek Squad will remove software you don’t want and charge you for software you wouldn’t need if Vista was designed correctly in the first place.
Getting Back On Track
“How the heck did the computer industry degrade to this point?” The VAR Guy wonders. Perhaps Vista isn’t all that bad, but the mere existence of these Geek Squad services suggests that the world of Windows truly has lost its way.
Some folks hope Windows 7 will address Vista’s shortcomings. But The VAR Guy isn’t holding his breath. His company has already standardized on Apple Macintoshes. And one of his consumer Dell PCs is running Ubuntu Linux. So far, that combination has managed to protected him from Vista… and the Geek Squad.
Perhaps The VAR Guy pursued the wrong career. He’s blogging for free, but could be making $229 per hour or so — that’s nearly $460,000 a year — troubleshooting Windows Vista PCs for his neighbors. Alas, The VAR Guy was never good at making money. But he’s great at spending it.