Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

Best Buy in a negative light

This Star Tribune coverage of Best Buy's failed buyback program and $27m award to TechForward paints a very negative picture of Best Buy, but seems to come puzzlingly late. The case concluded December 5th, and this article doesn't seem to add any new information. Best Buy has not (yet) filed an appeal, so there's no progress on the legal front, just some high-level commentary by a local law professor. Nor is there any additional information about the buyback promotion's fate.

Although one shouldn't read too much into court arguments as statement of company policy, there is one particularly poisonous rationale that I hope Best Buy doesn't try to include in its appeal:

"The jury has made TechForward a highly profitable entity, a result that TechForward was never able to achieve in the marketplace," Best Buy said in a court filing. "TechForward never turned a profit and sustained itself through the largess of its investors."

See, VC-backed companies aren't "real" like Best Buy, so stealing from them shouldn't be punished as much?! A startup company like TechForward is often building towards profitability rather than profitable from the start, and signing a big partner like Best Buy can make all the difference. So for BBY to claim that the company was a failure anyway--- after BBY broke agreements and stole their IP--- sends a clear message to any future startup partners. If that's the attitude of top corporate officials, then it's no surprise that lower-level employees won't respect their partners either, whether or not "authorization" is given to engage in theft. Best Buy should realize that the monetary award is not the only thing at stake here. Many local entrepreneurs and potential future partners are watching as well.
Tags: minnesota, startup
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