Best Buy is getting whacked as Amazon goes after its key advantage

Whole Foods Stalls Midwestern 365 Expansion	Amazon ownership could question smaller-format concept's future

Whole Foods Stalls Midwestern 365 Expansion Amazon ownership could question smaller-format concept's future

Best Buy's Geek Squad has been making it easier for the tech-adverse to set up complicated technology in homes for years. These new full-time Amazon employees will do everything from assist clients in the device purchasing process to setting up heating and cooling systems, home entertainment centers, and home security systems.

According to Amazon's website, the company's "Smart Home Consultation" allows customers the chance to pick specific in-home appointment times with an Amazon expert. Now, according to reporting from Recode, Amazon will be a major competitor in the space.

Geek Squad, with its mobile staff of technicians, was seen as an area that would be harder for Amazon to disrupt. But as Recode notes, the company also appears to be hiring in Houston, Dallas, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and Hoboken, New Jersey.

In-home consultations are available through the company's website and are available in seven cities: Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Orange County, California. They also provide tech support and fix services for PCs.

Amazon will charge $99 if you want them to actually install a device - though it's offering 20 percent off installations through July 18.

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Amazon is pushing Alexa as the platform of choice for smart home control, while Best Buy is promoting both Alexa and Google Home. According to Best Buy's annual report, its services business is comprised of consultation, design, delivery, installation, set-up, protection plans, repair, technical support and educational classes.

In-home consultations are free (similar to Geek Squad) while the installations will come with a fee (also similar to Geek Squad).

To be sure, Amazon's test service now is only being used to help customers set up a "smart home", which means certain utilities like heating and lighting can be controlled by an app.

Amazon's new push into smart home consulting is something Apple should be watching closely because advocating for HomeKit needs to go beyond device makers promoting compatibility.

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