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The Internet Businesses The Almighty Buck

Best Buy Acquires SpeakEasy 285

Posted by Zonk
from the who-owns-your-isp-today dept.
spazimodo writes "From the announcement e-mail from Speakeasy CEO Bruce Chatterley: 'I am pleased to announce that Speakeasy has been acquired by Best Buy, an innovative and growing Fortune 100 company and the top consumer electronics retailer in North America. This is a significant milestone for our company as our new relationship will help us realize our goals of becoming the No. 1 provider of voice and data solutions to small businesses. It is important to note that though Speakeasy will now be a wholly owned subsidiary of Best Buy, we will continue to operate as a standalone, independent operating division with headquarters in Seattle.' As a longtime Speakeasy customer, it's too bad to see their business moving in this direction. Back in the day when I called up their support with a problem, and mentioned I was using an OpenBSD box as a firewall/gateway the response was: 'cool!' — slightly different from the response Comcast or Verizon would give. I can't imagine they'll be able to maintain that independence, and there's no way I'm paying a premium for Internet service to Best Buy."
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Best Buy Acquires SpeakEasy

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  • God Forbid (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bananatree3 (872975) * on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @09:56AM (#18501413)
    I sure hope they don't turn SpeakEasy into another Geek Squad quandry. Consumerist has a nice quote on this: [consumerist.com]

    A common refrain we hear from the former and current Geek Squad employees we've been talking to is that Geek Squad used to be awesome. Robert Stephens built up an award-winning company with a reputation for being the best in the business. Then he sold it to Best Buy and they turned it to garbage.

    • Re:God Forbid (Score:5, Interesting)

      by huber (723453) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @10:02AM (#18501507)
      Best Buy did the same thing with The Musicland Group (Media Play, Sam Goodie etc..) Media Play was one of the best jobs i ever had. Everyone got along, corporate realized that every store location served different demographics and let the stores cater to those needs. Then Comes best buy with their one size fits all mantra. All of the sudden all employees have to sell so many "replay cards" a month or risk termination. They sucked to fun out of that place in less then a year. Next thing you know MusicLand is out of business. I hate Best Buy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hal2814 (725639)
        Media Play went and bet of every losing horse in electronics retail. They focused on PC Gaming, video (VHS and later DVD) sales, CD sales, and books. Books sales was the only market they were in that can still make money today. While their store makeup made them something I dearly loved, they couldn't keep it up without fundamentally changing what they are. Best Buy may have killed them but they were already dying. This is a far cry from the Geek Squad that was on the rise when Best Buy purchased them.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by huber (723453)
          Agreed to an extent. If in fact books were the best money maker in the store, then why did best buy destroy that section? They cut book inventory by 75% of what it was originally. We had almost everything in stock. That Changed into "sorry we don't carry that item."

          They had managers and sales associates that knew they're departments and fired them ( at least at my store ) because they refused to push customers to buy those silly replay cards and other promotions. These employees were replaced by people w
          • Re:God Forbid (Score:5, Interesting)

            by VirtualAdept (43699) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @11:33AM (#18502753)
            From my perspective, I absolutely *loved* Media Play in their heyday. I used to go there all the damned time. For one thing, they had by far the best selection of anime I could find back when anime was starting to become big. And from that, I would go there and browse books and CDs. I'd occasionally buy a video game there. And they always had other products that made me go 'ooooh' Then they went downhill. Getting pinged every time about a Replay card got annoying very, very quickly. It seemed like their stores slowly went downhill in terms of cleanliness and display of product. I started going to other stores for books and video games. I was already buying less anime. It really came down to the fact that I stopped caring about Media Play, and didn't really notice them go out of business.
            • by BoberFett (127537)
              I also loved Media Play back in the day. Out in the middle of BFE (St. Cloud, MN) it was the only place around with a decent selection of software, movies, games, music and books. I did notice that they significantly changed the stock at some point, but didn't realize at the time it was due to a Best Buy buyout. Now it all makes sense.
      • by Patik (584959)
        Sounds familiar [imdb.com].
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gessel (310103) *
        Crap crap crap. So now what? I've been a speakeasy customer for years now: good SDSL service, excellent customer service, people who actually know configuration options. I'm seriously unhappy. From the zenith of ISPs to the nadir of corporate misculture. Will they start to dynamically rewrite speakeasy quotes between the ad and the sale? [dailytech.com]

        poo. this sucks.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fm6 (162816)

        It's interesting that in the entertainment biz, "have fun, and make sure your employees do the same" is usually a formula for making money. Unfortunately, big publically-owned companies like Best Buy have no hope of following that model.

        I have to wonder what they were thinking of when they bought SpeakEasy. SpeakEasy's business model is basically, "We're the geek-friendly ISP." When Best Buy tries to integrate SpeakEasy into their other businesses, "geek-friendly" will certainly be the first thing to go.

    • Re:God Forbid (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @10:10AM (#18501601) Homepage
      I would bet on it they will. BestBuy is known for taking something that is good and then leaning it out so far it starts to eat it's self. They started this in Geek squad by paying gutter wages, which gives you no skills techs and huge turnover. I actually get more clients from people screwed by Geek Squad that anyone else. Speakeasy will be the same. the rates will not go down but the QOS will drop to a level that the executives will deem acceptable to maximize profits. Also expect tactics used by companies like Vonnage that will make it near impossible to quit your service so switching to another provider will be incredibly difficult.

      Everything Best Buy has touched they screw it up in the name of maximized profits.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dgatwood (11270)

        Well, you can always switch directly to Covad. They have decent service, IMHO. It's as simple (hah) as getting an ISP switch form and faxing it to Speakeasy for their approval. They forward it to Covad, and Covad switches you over from using Speakeasy to Covad without disconnecting your DSL at all. Or at last that's the way it's supposed to work. Didn't work when I switched from Earthlink/Covad to Covad, but then again, Earthlink was so incompetent that I wouldn't have expected anything less. :-)

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by suitepotato (863945)
          It depends on who "owns" the CPE. The partner or the CLEC. Migrations from one to the other are problematic in many many ways. As far as Covad service, well, when you have problems, I hope you enjoy talking to techs at an outsource company in India who are culturally polite to the point of seeming infuriatingly stony to Americans, and more doggedly pathologically script-driven than the California twits from @Home. You do remember, "so your modem is flashing? Have you reloaded Netscape?" don't you?

          Or you can
    • Re:God Forbid (Score:4, Informative)

      by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@OOOopto ... inus threevowels> on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @10:21AM (#18501733) Journal

      Forget the GeekSquad mess... Best Buy has been called out for having an internal web site that looks like their external one but with different prices [consumerist.com]. If they bring the same kind of quality to SpeakEasy, it's as good as dead.

      • by cHiphead (17854)
        Just wait till people are in a Best Buy and go run a Speakeasy speed test over the internal gigabit network... "Insane fast zomgz broadband! Free install by a Geek Squad member!"

        There goes the last of the decent independent ISPs.

        Cheers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Yeah, I really hope that doesn't happen. Geek Squad has earned itself a laughable status lately.

      I got this email this morning (I use speakeasy for my web servers). So far, speakeasy has had excellent service. Between getting 3mbit/768kbit DSL line with 8 static IPs and 8 1GB usenet accounts for 85$/month (slashdot promo), their not blocking servers, and their incredibly fast response time for problems, the service has been top notch. Completely decimated verizon's service on all levels.

      I've never liked best
      • "To me, they're like the wal*mart of electronics stores. Sure, they've got pretty much everything, but they're constantly trying to sell you things. It's not about service with them, it's about getting every penny out of your pocket that they can. They have no soul to their spin."

        I don't see how that's comparable to Walmart at all. Don't get me wrong - I'm up for a good bashing of Walmart as the next guy but my experiences at Best Buy have always been pushy salespeople who want me to get the protection pl

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Coraon (1080675)
        Seeing as how evil best buy is and how worried alot of speak easy employes have got to be, I have to wonder. When are you guys leaving speak easy?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Posting as AC as I still under a dubious DNA through Accenture that I really dont feel like fighting. They did the same thing with Magnolia Hi-Fi. Took a company that won best service award for 20+ years and sucked all of the good ideas out and gutted the company. Two years after the purchase people were walking into the retail store and saying "Magnolia just doesnt feel like Magnolia anymore" We did not advertise the fact that Magnolia was owned by BBY but the customers could feel the culture shift. R
  • Suckage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ender- (42944) <doubletwist@@@fearthepenguin...net> on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @09:56AM (#18501415) Homepage Journal
    Well that kinda sucks. I'm already saddened by the fact that I can't get Speakeasy at my current home. It was always worth the extra money for their service, and static IPs. Now I have to live with the fact that by the time I move to another house, Speakeasy will probably suck as badly as SBC. :(
    • Wow - the Geek squad must have mod points. Anything critical of Speakeasy is getting mod'd offtopic or redundant.

      I agree this really sucks. Though I don't have Speakeasy, I've heard nothing but glowing praise from people who do have them, and I'm sad to see a good competitor go down the toilet.

      This raises the question as to whether there are any reasonable alternatives to Speakeasy left? Some ISP which will allow one to run servers, is reasonably honest (no false bandwidth throttling claims) and a cluef

      • by fossa (212602)

        There are quite a few ISPs that provide Internet services in combination with DSL service from the local phone company. I recently switched grudgingly from Speakeasy, which uses lines from Covad, to Qwest with third party ISP. I did this to save money, but now have no regrets upon hearing this news. Shopping around for an ISP other than Qwest MSN, XMission [xmission.com] looked like a good one, but they stopped offering service in my area (they are Utah based I believe) so I can't speak firsthand. Other than that, the

        • by hurfy (735314)
          Well, since the GP didn't mention price I'll agree with a local ISP on DSL.

          However i pay probably $20 extra not to have qwest or comcast. The tech support however is usually the guy that configures the routers and at least some of the money stays here :)

          Too bad, i always heard good things about speakeasy. Surely that will change soon, i think it is against Best Buy policy or something...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I had always lived in perpetual hope that Speakeasy would be offered in my area. To tell you the truth, it was rather draining, always being excited to check their coverage map. Now I can go back to deciding between the Cable Monopoly and the Phone Monopoly, like nature intended.
  • Speakeasy is a well-respected and geek-friendly ISP while Best Buy is making headlines [courant.com] for shady dealings.

    All good things must come to an end.

    • by sfjoe (470510)
      One time I was having trouble with my phone and I had Pac Bell out to fix it. The bonehead repairman managed to disconnect my DSL line (I wondered why he made a beeline for the door when he finished). I called Speakeasy and they told me "no problem" and had me back in business that evening.
      I really can't imagine a shady outfit like Best Buy managing to keep that level of customer service. Does anyone have any recommendations for DSL?
  • I have used speakeasy's broadband speed tester a lot. What are they going to do next? How many square inches of plasma screen you get per 1000$? displayed using their distinctive dsl speedometer animation?
  • it means I quit getting pestered about buying AOL's "service" every time I run in to BB for anything.

    Granted, I only shop there if I can't wait 3-5 days for shipping, but its still damned annoying.
    • by omeomi (675045)
      it means I quit getting pestered about buying AOL's "service" every time I run in to BB for anything.

      Nah, now it's those damned "free" magazine subscriptions...
      • by josecanuc (91) *

        Nah, now it's those damned "free" magazine subscriptions...

        My wife signed up for one of the 6-month trials for a magazine at the checkout stand several years ago. We never renewed, never paid any subscription fee and she still receives it. It had to be over 4 years ago. When she has moved, she change the address for her other magazine subscriptions, but not for this particular "trial" subscription. Since the parent publishers were the same, they automatically changed the address on the trial magazine.

        Mu

  • by LordPhantom (763327) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @10:02AM (#18501503)
    Let's think about this for a moment:

    ISP for geeks now owned by a company that is beholden to "big media" interests.

    I'm sure this will end well....

  • Sad (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Moridineas (213502) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @10:03AM (#18501517) Journal
    I felt like I had been punched when I saw the email this morning.

    silly to feel like that over an ISP, but dang, speakeasy was awesome, and best buy--well...not so much a fan. Like their stores, but that's about it.
    • by IANAAC (692242)
      Agreed. I've been with three diferent ISPs over the last 12-13 years, and Speakeasy is by FAR the best I've ever had. Tech support is top notch. They let me do whatever I want with my connection, with whatever platform I choose.

      I really, REALLY hope that nothing changes, but I'm fearing it will. They say that Speakeasy will continue to handle all support, etc., but frankly, that means nothing if Best Buy ends up cutting Speakeasy's staff to a skeleton crew.

      • by misleb (129952)

        that means nothing if Best Buy ends up cutting Speakeasy's staff to a skeleton crew.

        I think that only happens when a) the parent means to drive the company into the ground (and take their customers and patents) or b) when there are redundancies between the two companies. Fortunately, I don't think either is the case here. Best Buy would have no reason to drive Speakeasy into the ground and they don't have much in common as far as business, so I think Speakeasy is safe in that regard.

        -matthew

      • by bfields (66644)
        Yeah, I've only had to use the tech support a couple times, but they've been competent and polite. Which means Speakeasy has been spending money to recruit, train, and keep pretty good staff. I hope they can continue to afford to do that....
    • by sirket (60694)
      I've been with SpeakEasy since 2000. I've signed countless other people up with SpeakEasy. The moment I got the email this morning I replied to it. I listed all of Best Buy's awful tactics, said I would never shop at Best Buy so why would I want my Internet access from them? I asked them if they couldn't possibly have found a better match than an awful retailer like Best Buy.

      I think every SpeakEasy customer should send them an email and let them know what we think of this. I appreciate that the people who f
  • This is bad (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Darth Maul (19860) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @10:04AM (#18501525) Homepage
    I specifically chose Speakeasy for my DSL because of how open they are with customer usage patterns and configurations. Like the submitter, I call up and say I have a Linux box as my gateway and they love it. They don't cap bandwidth, block ports, etc. I'm sure they'll claim "nothing will change" but I cannot imagine Best Buy leaving this alone... They'll require Vista for connections or something silly like that (for "security reasons").

    Sigh. Time to start shopping around for small DSL providers again.
    • Re:This is bad (Score:5, Informative)

      by blincoln (592401) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @10:19AM (#18501713) Homepage Journal
      I'm sure they'll claim "nothing will change"

      Things are already changing.

      I signed up with Speakeasy several years ago, and was always impressed with their quick and friendly tech support. I also liked supporting a business that had grown from a small local company to something more successful - I remember using the monochrome dumb terminals they had for free lynx usage in their coffeehouse back in the mid-90s.

      In December I decided to switch to their OneLink product, because I wasn't using my home phone anymore. It took a month for them to send someone from Covad out and to call the right number when they got there. I ended up taking 3-4 days off of work because (unlike the phone/cable/power companies) Covad can't be bothered to keep keys to locked utility rooms at apartment buildings. However, once it was finally hooked up it worked great, even if I did have to buy yet another DSL modem.

      Then, a month after I switched, they sent me a bill with an extra $300 tacked on for "missed appointments" with the Covad techs. I called them up and they would only remove one of them. I figured there was no way out of it and paid it but decided to cancel my service. When I did, they told me that by using it for more than 25 days, I had implicitly agreed to a 12-month contract with a $300 early termination fee. I asked them how it was possible to agree to a contract without signing anything, speaking anything, or even clicking on an "I accept" type button, but they insisted it was true. I'm still disputing that fee.

      I suppose they were just gearing up to switch over to the Best Buy model of customer "service". It was especially thoughtful of them to not bill me for the alleged "missed appointments" until I'd already supposedly agreed to their 12-month "contract".
      • by phorm (591458) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @11:26AM (#18502663) Journal
        If you did, there's this little option called "chargeback"

        Moreover, if you don't have verbal (record) or written assent to the so-called contract, it'll be dumped. Basically what Visa does is get both parties on the phone and ask the salesperson to play back the part where they indicated a contract or non-refundable item. Nothing said, nothing written = no contract, and your money usually comes back to you.
      • Re:This is bad (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @11:32AM (#18502745)
        The $300 "missed appointments" ($150 missed appointment fee x2) and the additional $300 early termination fee is presented to you by Covad through Speakeasy. Covad is a massive DSL line carrier and Speakeasy piggy-backs Covad with their Internet service in an almost Master-Blaster type way. Covad will present the charges to Speakeasy who informs the customer and then gets it in the ear. As you can tell, I worked for Speakeasy and as a PTA I handled many, many calls regarding these fees. The Speakeasy terms of service states the 12 month contract term and other fees that can apply for various reasons. (ie, missed appoinments, early termination) No, these terms aren't discussed very often with your Speakeasy sales rep, but if you were aware of these you would probably have never signed up for Speakeasy in the first place.

        This has nothing to do with Best Buy acquiring Speakeasy, this is how the Speakeasy/Covad relationship works and I wouldn't expect it to change.
    • by KC7GR (473279)
      If I may make a suggestion -- I've been with Drizzle Internet [drizzle.com] for over five years. I run fully self-hosted, including two authoritative DNS boxen, and Drizzle has never had an issue with it.

      When I first called them up, I told them "Look, all I want is a DSL pipe and six static IP's. I'll do the rest." They said "No problem... Let me get an installation date for you."

      Uptime has been incredible. I've only had two notable outages. First was when some chain-link fence grunts drove a fencepost through an undergr
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I'm not quite sure I'd recommend Drizzle. It all depends on your needs. Maybe they're good simply running a server. I've been a customer of theirs (with Qwest being the DSL provider) for about the same time - five, maybe six years, I forget. I don't run dedicated servers, but I am an internet user who loves using bittorrent to trade live concerts.

        I will attest that their uptime for straight DSL/ISP service has been pretty solid. Maybe one unscheduled outage per year - max, but things are getting worse
    • by kebes (861706)
      My sentiments exactly. I spent alot of time looking at the different Internet offerings when I moved to where I am now. Eventually I went with Speakeasy, and I've been quite happy with them. Yes, they are more expensive, but they don't block port 80, which means I can run a proper webserver, and they don't throttle any traffic. Plus when you talk to someone on the phone or via email, they actually know what they are talking about. (When they asked "how did you hear about us" and I said "Slashdot" his reply
  • April Fools (Score:5, Informative)

    by yppiz (574466) * on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @10:04AM (#18501527) Homepage
    Please tell me this is an early April Fools.

    Please?

    I hope they hold it together, but if they don't, there's Sonic.net [sonic.net] which is like Speakeasy without the marketing budget.

    --Pat
    • Sonic.net does sound promising... But they work with SBC/AT&T only :P. Unfortunately we are Qwest territory out here so no go.

      That was one of the good things about Speakeasy, they went through Covad and Newedge so you could get it almost anywhere.
  • Damn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rainmayun (842754) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @10:05AM (#18501545)
    A few years back, at the time I signed up for Speakeasy DSL, they were the only decent ISP who would serve me. Verizon said I was too far from the CO (mechanized loopback test said 17000 feet) and they weren't eager to build new infrastructure in a zip where the median age of residents is 60-something. Comcast didn't have the capacity in my neighborhood development, although their flyer route drivers didn't seem to know that. Speakeasy said "sure" and I got 1.2 Mbps down and the line was clean. I have 2 static IPs, one on a FC5 box and one shared on a wireless router amongst 2 (and sometimes more) Windows boxes, and all for $42 a month. I was on the verge of getting rid of my Verizon POTS, even though it would push up the DSL cost $15. But the main reason I stayed with Speakeasy was the cheap static IPs, no complaints about what services I run, and knowledgeable tech support. I swore I would never ever give Comcast another dime of my money for any service, and I really don't care for Verizon support. But if Speakeasy goes the way of Geek Squad, or in any way resembles Best Buy customer service practices, I might just give up completely.

    Anybody know any other independent ISPs left who might not treat home techies like criminals for running something besides Windows?
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Comcast didn't have the capacity in my neighborhood development, although their flyer route drivers didn't seem to know that.

      You think that's bad? SkyBlue has signs all over California but they're not currently selling to anywhere on the west coast.

      I mean we're talking about advertisements in a whole fucking state in which they don't provide service.

      And of course, they're not selling because they're already oversubscribed.

      If you're a decision-maker at SkyBlue, here's a big fuck you to you.

  • DSLExtreme (Score:3, Informative)

    by vyrus128 (747164) <gwillen@nerdnet.org> on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @10:06AM (#18501569) Homepage
    For those in areas where it's possible, I'd strongly suggest dropping Speakeasy and switching to DSLExtreme. That's who I use, and much like Speakeasy they offer free static IPs and no restrictions on the usage of your line.
    • That was a major reason I went with Speakeasy: to get completely away from SBC's overpriced dialtone.

      Does DSLExtreme offer anything similar to Speakeasy's "Onelink"?

      • by vyrus128 (747164)
        I can't find anything on DSLExtreme's site suggesting that they offer no-dialtone service. I've never actually asked, though. But I suspect not.
  • I knew this would happen eventually. I've been with Speakeasy since 2001 for my DSL service and I've only been as satisfied with one other ISP in the past. The problem with the previous ISP is that they got bought out by another larger ISP who basically screwed all of the old customers. For example, with mail, they "merged" the two domains. They took all of the accounts from my ISP (including my own e-mail account of five years) and basically dumped any duplicates. I used to be eno@isp1.example and the
  • Speakeasy (Score:5, Informative)

    by pHZero (790342) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @10:12AM (#18501633) Homepage
    As an existing Speakeasy customer, the e-mail I received from them this morning made me uneasy, but I'm willing to stick around for a while and see how things go.

    Here was the text of the e-mail I received:

    Dear Speakeasy Members,

    Today is an historic and exciting day for Speakeasy.

    I am pleased to announce that Speakeasy has been acquired by Best Buy, an innovative and growing Fortune 100 company and the top consumer electronics retailer in North America. This is a significant milestone for our company as our new relationship will help us realize our goals of becoming the No. 1 provider of voice and data solutions to small businesses. It is important to note that though Speakeasy will now be a wholly owned subsidiary of Best Buy, we will continue to operate as a standalone, independent operating division with headquarters in Seattle.

    Speakeasy will be an important part of the Best Buy For Business service that delivers simple, reliable, and affordable technology solutions to small businesses. Speakeasy's array of broadband voice, data and managed services offerings will be the focal point of the Best Buy For Business communications solutions. This agreement is a major step forward for our company. While our business remains strong, our relationship with Best Buy provides us with additional resources and brand recognition, while opening new sales channels which will dramatically accelerate our growth.

    Best Buy, like Speakeasy, is known for its high level of customer service. Our reputation as a trusted provider of voice and data services with stellar customer service will not change. Our values are similar too -- Best Buy shares our customer passion, respect for individuals, and drive to do the right thing while achieving results. All aspects of your service will continue to be managed by Speakeasy and the excellent service and support you expect will continue uninterrupted.

    Best Regards,

    Bruce Chatterley

    President & CEO, Speakeasy, Inc.

    GENERAL INFORMATION

    What are Best Buy and Speakeasy announcing today?

    Best Buy has agreed to acquire Speakeasy, a privately-held voice and data solutions company based in Seattle, WA. Speakeasy will be aligned under the Best Buy For Business (BBFB) unit, enhancing Best Buy's technology portfolio and ability to help small businesses improve their productivity and cut costs.

    Why is Best Buy purchasing Speakeasy?

    Speakeasy is a highly regarded voice and data services provider with national coverage whose values align well with those of Best Buy. Best Buy is seeking to accelerate the growth of Best Buy For Business (BBFB) by providing core communications solutions for small businesses. Speakeasy's array of products offer a simple, understandable value proposition to small business owners, and gives BBFB the opportunity to build and maintain a regular, recurring relationship with customers.

    Who is Best Buy? Where are they located?

    Best Buy Co., Inc (NYSE: BBY) is one of the nation?s leading retailers of technology and entertainment products and services. Their mission is to give customers great experiences - whether they are shopping for consumer electronics, home-office products, entertainment software and appliances, or using those products and related-services in their homes or offices. Best Buy's corporate campus is located in Richfield, Minnesota and it operates over 1,150 stores across the U.S., Canada, and China.

    Why would a retailer buy a technology company?

    One of Speakeasy's core product offerings is Voice over IP (VoIP), which is becoming a popular choice for small businesses who seek efficient and cost-effective telecommunications services. Best Buy For Business' mission is to deliver simple, reliable, and affordable technology solutions to small businesses. A product offering such as VoIP, which has immediate compelling appeal to most SBs based on cost savings and simplicity, is an attractive value proposition that allows Best Buy to round out its

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by digigasm (84016)
      Fourth paragraph, first sentence:

      "Best Buy, like Speakeasy, is known for its high level of customer service."

      Since when?
    • I also live within a mile of the Best Buy HQ. I have speakeasy (which is really just redistributed covad). IMHO the CO's in Richfield need to be upgraded and/or there needs to be more CO's added to the area. Pretty much the entire town was built in 1950 and as you can imagine a lot of infrastructure is just as old. Maybe BestBuy's money and Speakeasy's telephone company connections will cause upgrades in the immediate area. Though doubtful as there are low income apartment housing across the street from Bes
    • Best Buy, like Speakeasy, is known for its high level of customer service.

      Oooooooooookay...

  • If they've got Best Buy, they'll make them suck more, but they'll get more penetration. More broadband choice would be great, and even a degraded Speakeasy has to be better than Comcast or Verizon.

  • wow (Score:2, Funny)

    by yodleboy (982200)
    Speakeasy CEO Bruce Chatterley = lady Chatterley's lover?

    wonder what they will name this?
    "BestSpeak?"
    "BuyEasy?"
    "SpeakEasy Highspeed Broadband DSL Internet Service presented by Best Buy"

    I have visions of non stop best buy pop ups when you sign on. gahhhh.
  • When I got the email this morning it was like a hand jumped out of the screen and punched me in the face. Yes, definitely silly to feel this way about an ISP, but like may others here, I feel that Speakeasy as be so great to me.

    The cost is a little more and the speed is a little slower but the quality has been excellent. They are always up, my IP is static, ports are not blocked, and the support is excellent. I've been with them for almost 10 years now, and when I had Comcast Cable Modem that my work paid
  • I'm going to seriously consider leaving. I don't want to stick around and watch them go down the drain just like every other cool company that gets bought out. I guess it could be worse... like Symantec or Computer Associates, but still... Best Buy? WTF does an ISP have in common with a retail giant?

    I'm really kind of sick of this buy-out -> toilet trend. I just got burned pretty bad by it last year when EMC bought Dantz/Retrospect. Retrospect used to be a pretty solid product. Now it is a steaming pile
    • by misleb (129952)
      Oh wait, Juniper buys Netscreen. That wasn't so bad. As far as I can tell, Netscreens are still darn good firewalls.

      -matthew
  • I had Speakeasy DSL for a few years and it was great. Then I moved and had no other option except Comcast cablemodem. It's been ok, but I liked having a static IP.

    I were still with Speakeasy I'd keep it, but keep my eyes open for when the nigh inevitable happens.
    • I had Speakeasy DSL for a few years and it was great. Then I moved and had no other option except Comcast cablemodem. It's been ok, but I liked having a static IP.
      Well, speaking practically - my Comcast DHCP address hasn't changed in over two years.

    • DynDNS and ddclient are your friends.

  • Nice (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332)
    I was considering them, now I know they'll suck.

    Back in the day when I called up their support with a problem, and mentioned I was using an OpenBSD box as a firewall/gateway the response was: 'cool!'

    Actually, would you believe that last night a comcast rep came to my door. They'd had some problems the last 6 months in my community, so he went door to door giving us all a rate cut, free digital and a free movie channel to compensate. I hadn't any problems, but hey - free.

    We talked for a bit, he asked what
    • mentioned that the tuner in my new HDTV was already picking up OnDemand feeds, and he didn't believe me, so I showed him a skinimax flick on 87.3 which was being rewound to show the same nipple over and over.

      Do you often invite salesmen into your house to check out porn?

  • by analog_line (465182) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @10:28AM (#18501845)
    I recommended Speakeasy to all my clients, and just about everyone I knew, because I had amazing service from them. Best Buy I've never had anything but shitty service from. As of a few minutes ago, I'm recommending everyone I know steer very clear, and all my clients who are currently using Speakeasy to be prepared for when things start collapsing.
    • by dr_dank (472072)
      Best Buy I've never had anything but shitty service from.

      Best Buy is fine if you don't intend to have any problems other than simple returns. Even then, you can still get screwed. My friend bought the Lego Star Wars game for the DS from BB. The game would lock up, not change levels, etc. Sure enough, a google search revealed that the game was shipped bug-ridden.

      BB refused to refund or exchange for a different title. All they would do is let him exchange it for the same title that would surely have the sam
  • I've had a shell account with Speakeasy for about a decade now. All of my multiple addresses filter there. As long as that still works, I'll stay there rather than switch everything over again.

    I might be the only person in world who still uses Pine for email, but I prefer that to web based solutions, let alone something like Outlook...
    • I might be the only person in world who still uses Pine for email, but I prefer that to web based solutions, let alone something like Outlook...

      pine -f {pop3-server.isp.com/pop3}

      Welcome to the late 20th century.

      Also, gmail offers pop3 service from your gmail account... so pine will pop from that, also.
      Granted your running a *nix of some form.
      Then again, you wouldn't want the shell account so badly if you did, so I guess I shouldn't just assume that since your a geek you run *nix.
  • I've been a customer of Speakeasy's for about 4 years now, and I love them. The emailed announcement hit me like a slap in the face.

    They have been a fantastic ISP compared to Comcast, who they replaced. I have static IPs, I can run servers, and I get advance notice of planned downtime for maintenance when it will affect my service. I think I've only experienced three unplanned outages since I've been their customer, and the longest was maybe 6 hours. When I've needed to call about outages, their support peo
  • I got an email about it from them this morning. I'm depressed. Speakeasy is no where near the cheapest where I live, but I've hung on to them tenaciously partly because of the service, but mostly because of the extremely liberal terms of service. I pay extra so that I can have a static IP, run whatever servers I want, and generally actually use my connection.

    If Best Buy changes this, and decides to act like the big idiot telecom companies like Comcast, I've got no reason to pay extra. I'll just take tha
  • Well, maybe this will be a good excuse to switch to a cheaper service - I've been paying through the nose for huge up speeds, mostly because "any day now" I'll get back into EVE or work from home more (turns out you have to leave work and go home before you can work from home).

    I wonder what the TOS for the FiOS service is... given that it's Verizon, can't be too encouraging.
  • by Unlikely_Hero (900172) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @11:09AM (#18502393)
    I just got off the phone with someone in the corporate office in Seattle and I for one am willing to wait it out.
    He explained it quite clearly to me, without doublespeak or marketing crap.
    Speakeasy will be a wholly owned subsidiary of BestBuy. All the staff is staying in Seattle, all the tech support will still be in Seattle.
    SPEAKEASY WILL STILL BE OPERATING THEIR NETWORK, IT WILL NOT BE MANAGED BY ANYONE FROM BESTBUY.
    It basically came down to this
    1. BestBuy needed an ISP that didn't suck to offer their business customers when they offer to "outfit" a business. For BestBuy (regardless of how malicious they may be), offering a business customer they want to keep as a long term client Comcast or Verizon or ATT or god forbid AOL isn't a winning strategy. So they want to be able to offer SpeakEasy and have it be quick, efficient, and "standard" if you will. They want Speakeasy to be their standard offer.
    2. Speakeasy wants a shitload of working capital. BestBuy can give them this. Now, I think it's kind of like accepting blood money, but I'm not the one that has to take care of the accounting.

    It's not like we're going to have blueshirts running the network or those yellow-shirt mafia answering the phones.
    The e-mail hit me like a punch in the face too.
    Also, just so folks know, no one at Speakeasy is "cashing out". Well, at least not the "out" part.
    The executive/management people are all staying. Bruce Chatterly will be reporting to a VP at BestBuy, not sure which. the internal structure of Speakeasy is remaining as is.
    Also, to point out a big difference. Geek Squad was brought "in house". Speakeasy is NOT being brought "in house" (thank god..)

    Thanks to those who pointed out SonicDSL and DSLExtreme as alternatives, I hope I won't need them.
    I'm gonna give speakeasy a chance. They've been a fabulous ISP and they deserve the chance.
    • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @11:45AM (#18502899) Journal
      If you believe all that, I've got a bridge to sell you. As soon as the deal is closed, BestBuy will be imposing their corporate policies on Speakeasy. First thing will be HR policies -- those will cause many of the best people at Speakeasy to jump ship. Then they'll start cutting services that aren't part of their "core" -- since it's part of "Best Buy for Business", that probably means residential services will be going, piece by piece. Customer service? Best Buy insist on cost cutting there too. Somewhere along the line Mr. Chatterly will take his money and run. Things will get worse, until Best Buy sells the what's left of the company to AT&T or Verizon.
    • I'm a current Speakeasy customer and I'm now shopping for new ISPs. The thing is, Best Buy wouldn't be making this acquisition for no reason. They have some larger hair-brained scheme in mind I'm quite sure. I don't know what it is, but I have no care to find out.
  • For a time, I was conflicted about moving to FIOS because I was leaving a company with such great customer service and support for a hulking monolith simply to get more bandwidth. (Much, MUCH more bandwidth: 5/20 instead of .25/1.5!) But now that they've sold out to Best Buy, I have zero regrets. I wonder how long until the eliminate all the things that made Speakeasy so good? Static IP's, reverse DNS, responsive customer support, encouraged servers and reselling bandwidth, etc.
  • Back in the day when I called up their support with a problem, and mentioned I was using an OpenBSD box as a firewall/gateway the response was: 'cool!'

    I'm not entirely sure that the big ISPs are as bad as some around here claim them to be. I have had Cox for years now and AT&T (now Comcast) where I used to live (back in 2000 or so) and I had no problems using a Linux box as the gateway.

    I have never had trouble getting information about default gateways or routes or DNS servers or anything of the sort. With most modern Cable ISPs everything is DHCP anyway. DSL is similar although a lot of them use that PPPoE crap.

    As far as installation goes, abo

  • How soon before Speakeasy becomes a walking joke, con artists, and destroyer of customer machines, like Geek Squad did after being bought out by Best Buy?
  • This thread made me think of something: why are no ISPs in the USA offering bonded DSL services? You know, for when one DSL line won't do, but going to T1 is too much? Anyone know of anyone offering this?
  • So, anyone have any recommendations (or expectations?) for residential fiber in San Francisco?

    I'm not going to stick with Speakeasy any longer as soon as fiber is available now. I was always willing to keep with the little guy and all that... but now that the little guy funnels money to the Big Guy, i can't really claim any sort of advantage in doing it. I'll support whatever Big Guy will offer me a bit fatty fiber to the home style pipe.

    I'm in San Francisco, surely this kind of thing is freakin possible.
  • Remember the Cafe? (Score:2, Informative)

    by FranTaylor (164577)
    Way back whem, my buddy Mike and I heard about this Speakeasy place that was going to start up an Internet cafe in Belltown. They had not yet opened up for business, so we went around back to the alley and knocked on the door. Nearby we could hear Mark Arm from Mudhoney practicing on guitar somewhere. The door opened and we met the owners, the Apgars. They were totally cool and really knew what they were doing. When the cafe opened, we used to go there all the time. They had a bunch of machines for pu
  • Back around 1997 or 1998 they had CD's (usually by the check-outs) for Best Buy's ISP which was called expresslane or theonramp.net, as I recall.

    Then one day the company just disappeared without any warning and we had no connection.
  • by LionKimbro (200000) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @11:55AM (#18503023) Homepage
    The SpeakEasy Cafe led me to: A great many friends, and even 4 close ones, including my girlfriend (whom I met at the FreeBSD meetings that gathered there,) ... which led to our daughter, who now turns 6. We're a happy family, and we've always felt good about paying SpeakEasy.

    SpeakEasy service is out of this world. They never balk that I run Linux & FreeBSD. Whenever we've had problems, it's been our end, but their staff has been responsive and friendly. Their level-1 staff are *very* knowledgeable. Network administrators I know love to recount stories of Speakeasy awesomeness.

    First the cafe burns down, and now this. :( So sad. Mike Apgar, send us an email!

    If SpeakEasy service degrades in the slightest, I don't see how we can justify the extra expense. We're paying for SpeakEasy: the freedom to run Linux & FreeBSD, the freedom to occasionally host some (ahem) questionable material, the freedom to run weird configurations, their excellent service, their crazy smart staff, ...

    If any of that goes away, I just don't see the point.
  • Community WiFi (Score:2, Interesting)

    Sigh. Jaded comments run rampant, but I too find my innards all in a twist.

    One of Speakeasy's best policies is their encouragement to share your bandwidth via WiFi if you see fit. I do exactly that in South Philly with Speakeasy's OneLink on an extremely stable 6.0/768 with 3 statics, and provide free WiFi for anyone within reach of my externally mounted antenna. There's about 10ish regulars and who knows how many transients, so while it's not massive, chats have begun with others in the area around providi
  • I wrote a letter to the Speakeasy sales people. The only people who can really influence the decision-makers in the company that I work for are the sales reps, and I assume Speakeasy is no different. Here's what he wrote back. Name of the Speakeasy rep has been omitted:

    Hello Dan,

    I completely understand your concerns, as this is a huge surprise to me as well! While Speakeasy is now owned by Best Buy, it's important to note that we will continue to operate as a stand alone, independant operation with our headquarters in Seattle. We will not be integrating with Best Buy stores, Geek Squad, Magnolia Hi-Fi or any other Best Buy subsidiary.

    Because we won't be integrating, there will be no change or interruption to your existing service or level of customer support as all aspects of your service will continue to be managed by Speakeasy.

    Best regards,

    **** *******

  • I *just* ordered Speakeasy DSL for my new apartment. God dammit, now what the fuck do I do?

    I guess I'll stick with it for now...it's the least expensive option I have that gives me a static IP, and certainly the most geek friendly ("Want to run a web server? No problem." whereas Verizon blocks port 80 unless you shell out for a business account).

    God dammit.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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