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Best Buy for Business Turns to Ingram Micro Services Network

In October, RCP profiled efforts by Best Buy Co. Inc. and CompUSA to court VARs for increased sales to small and medsize business (SMB) customers ("Big Box Retailers Hang on in the SMB Game").

After the issue went to press, Richfield, Minn.-based Best Buy's Best Buy for Business unit took another big step to cozy up to the channel. In late September, Best Buy and Ingram Micro Inc. unveiled an agreement to make the Ingram Micro Services Network (IMSN) the nation's "premier on-site IT service provider for select customers of Best Buy for Business."

Best Buy spread a wave of fear in the channel more than a year ago with public talk about turning its Geek Squad and related Best Buy for Business specialists into solutions providers that would compete with VARs near its stores. The plans progressed more slowly than Best Buy initially hoped, and more recently the company has been talking about partnering with local solutions providers on complex jobs.



BY THE NUMBERS
Bottom Line: Microsoft Partners' Global Impact
Source: Microsoft-sponsored IDC study, October 2007

$514 billion
Worldwide tax revenues resulting from "the activity of Microsoft and its ecosystem," 2007

$203 billion
U.S. tax revenues, 2007

$425 billion
Worldwide revenues for companies in the Microsoft ecosystem, 2007

$166.1 billion
North American revenues, 2007


The new agreement with the IMSN follows public disclosure that Best Buy had run a beta program with the New York City-based OnForce Network over the summer. In that program, qualified business opportunities were passed to solutions providers in OnForce's pool of about 10,000 providers.

Best Buy for Business intends to use the IMSN, which consists of about 700 solutions providers in the United States, for high-end IT installation and service engagements.

"By aligning with Ingram Micro and the IMSN, we're able to more effectively and efficiently service the complex IT needs of our larger Best Buy for Business customers, and offer on-site service and support to areas of the country where we don't have coverage today," David Hemler, president of Best Buy for Business, said in a statement.

Justin Crotty, vice president of the Ingram Micro Services Division for North America, called the arrangement "a big win and a ringing endorsement of the professionalism and world-class, on-site IT services expertise found within the IMSN."

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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