iYogi, Support.com, Geek Squad Battle for the Tech Support Title

As gear support goes virtual, how do two upstarts fare against Best Buy's Geek Squad?

Tackling computer glitches yourself is so 2008. "About 15% of home computers are infected with malware so fixing them has gone the way of lawn-mower service -- it's no longer a do-it-yourself thing," says Kurt Scherf, a technology analyst with Parks Associates. Scherf estimates Americans spent a whopping $4 billion on tech support last year. That number should grow to at least $6.4 billion by 2013, and remote help is poised to drive much of that expansion. An early look at the fight:

  iYogi Support.com Geek Squad
Service offering $140 per year; one-time fixes start at $20; 24/7 remote support. PC only. $199 per year; one-time fixes start at $49; 24/7 remote support. PC only. Walk-in help desks at all 1,070 Best Buys; house calls; and oh yeah, remote help. Both PC and Mac.
Target demographic/translation 50+, well-to-do, "later users," i.e., older people having problems accessing the Google. 30+, middle income, "tech pragmatic," i.e., business pros who value their time. "Service-minded civilians," i.e., people who will pay $40 to get a quick tune-up on a brand-new Mac.
Aspirations "We want to be the FedEx of support," says CEO Uday Challu. "We are Geek Squad over the Internet," says CEO Josh Pickus. Er, it already is Geek Squad.
Meet your IT guy More than 3,000 "yogis" in call centers in India 600 "solutions engineers" in home offices in North America 20,000 "agents" in stores; about 100 virtual agents in the U.S.
Oddest feature Technician profiles come with phonetic pronunciations of their names. A message board allows the tech-needy to answer questions for each other. You can pick your own agent via an online profile, just like Internet dating!
Annual growth (revenue) 200% to 300% (estimated $70-to-$80 million in fiscal 2011) 157% ($17.5 million in 2009) Best Buy doesn't break out data (estimated $1-to-$1.5 billion in 2009)
Final take Low-cost leader U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! Drivers only

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4 Comments

  • Natalie

    Can people out there recommend other services they have used and been pleased with?

  • Natalie

    FYI - I tried to get iYogi to fix my Outlook and this was the response that I got when I asked about the one-time fix:

    Please wait. A representative will be with you shortly.
    Anthony Maram says:
    Hello Natalie. My name is Anthony Maram how can I help you?
    Natalie says:
    Hi Anthony i saw online that you have one time fixes from $20 and I need a bit of help with my outlook - I have duplicated profiles and lost my contacts in a folder somewhere
    Anthony Maram says:
    No we do not provide one time fix
    Natalie says:
    is this something that can be done without the annual fee?
    Anthony Maram says:
    it's an annual subscription
    Natalie says:
    okay and am I am able to sync my dad & my outlook systems with just one subscription?
    Anthony Maram says:
    Alright, we will fix all the issue and also provide you a complete one year software coverage unlimited technical support Alright ?
    Natalie says:
    here is the link that talks about one time fee: http://www.fastcompany.com/mag...
    Anthony Maram says:
    See, one time fix will not help you
    Anthony Maram says:
    It will be a wise decision to go for annual subscription
    Anthony Maram says:
    Because a computer is a man make machine and it can cause you problem any time
    Natalie says:
    do you offer a one time fee or is the article incorrect?
    Anthony Maram says:
    We do not provide one time fix

  • Dave Cyra

    Ha! Don't even get me started on The Geek Squad. I wish I could have picked my own agent when the guy at the Best Buy closest to us told me I needed to buy a completely new operating system for my parents' HP that wouldn't start-up. I called HP and got the recovery disks for $14 (the shipping) vs. the $400+ The Geek Squad told me I needed to spend. I tell everyone that asks me about them that story and then inform them of a local computer place who will not simply offer you the highest price solution.

  • Kurt Scherf

    This is a really nice comparison. However, if you're going to compare remote services, you need to include PlumChoice as well. I believe that they are the largest provider of these services currently.