News.com has an interesting article about PC support services; many computer companies now rely on them, as margins are often in single digits. The U.S. market for Windows support in 2005 was approaching $8 billion for both consumers and corporate. You can safely bet that with the introduction of Windows Vista later this year, that figure will increase again.
There is unfortunately no UK equivalent to the U.S. Geek Squad, an army of 12,000 able IT support agents. Britain does have PCIQ, but this provides far more than computer support alone.
So beyond PCIQ and big brand names, there is a big gap to be filled. Invariably, many corner shops and internet cafés display posters promoting ‘professional’ computer guys, who provide their services with a no-repair no-fee guarantee. I would not touch those with a barge pole.
Granted, the UK market is far smaller than the US one. Ours is much more fragmented when it comes to brands, with generally more choice under the British skies. Now if only someone could set up a truly national and professional support army like Geek Squad, they would be onto a real money-spinner.