Verizon to offer Best Buy's Geek Squad services to small and medium-size business customers; retailer hoping to ink additional business-to-business deals

MINNEAPOLIS , July 18, 2012 () – Phone and data company Verizon Communications Inc. said Wednesday it would offer electronics retailer Best Buy's Geek Squad services to small- and mid-size business customers.

The news comes after Best Buy said it would lay off 600 Geek Squad workers, but hire 500 more specialized Geek Squad staffers.

Best Buy has said a key tenet of its offerings lie in the service arena, and it is moving away from basic installation services toward multifaceted tech support.

It is also focusing on business relationships. It has made a similar deal between the Geek Squad and the AARP, and at the Minneapolis-based retailer's annual meeting interim CEO Mike Mikan said the company was looking for more business-to-business deals.

Best Buy is trying to combat the "showrooming" of its stores, as consumers test out products at its stores but go home and buy them cheaper online or at discounters. Services are one of its offerings that it is focusing on to differentiate itself from online retailers.

Shares rose 26 cents to $19.08 during midday trading. The stock is down nearly 20 percent for the year.

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