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Best Buy may now be our competitor as it buys Mindshift Technologies Inc.

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Mindshift, of Waltham, Mass., was founded in 1999, and provides IT services to more than 5,400 small and medium-sized businesses throughout the U.S.

Best Buy has more than 1,100 big-box stores. But the retailer and other traditional chains face the prospect of becoming showrooms for online-only competitors. Some shoppers visit a mall or big-box location to check out merchandise and then find lower prices on the Web, sometimes while using smartphones right in the store’s aisles.

Demand for outsourced IT services among small businesses has been growing, with the IT outsourcing market in the U.S. expected to grow 1.9% to $40.6 billion in 2012, up from $39.8 billion in 2011, according to research firm IDC.

Small businesses in many cases can’t afford to employ large numbers of full-time IT professionals. At the same time, office technology has become more complex and diverse, and the threat of viruses and worms has increased. [Shameless plug: This is the type of IT Services we offer]

Best Buy’s acquisition of Mindshift builds on its 2002 purchase of Geek Squad, a provider of consumer-based IT support services. Small business are going into Best Buy’s stores already, looking for electronics and other products.