My two cents as follows:
About 6 years ago, I bought a DEMO Sony VIAO computer at COMPUSA. It was a 700MHz, 512K RAM, 40GBHD, CD-DVD combo drive, 15" LCD and weighed about 10 pounds. It was one of the original desktop replacement laptops. We still have it and it works fine for Internet surfing and college paper writing.
The machine originally sold for $3500, but at the time we bought this model, the market had just gone through a substantial design upgrade shift and the same machine was now selling from other companies new for $1700. So COMPUSA was trying to get rid of the machine for about $2000 and it came with a bunch of miscellaneous software (surplus from this COMPUSA store), AND A THREE YEAR EXTENDED WARRANTY for Tech Support and Service.
The thing I liked best about this Extended Warranty (which you could buy from COMPUSA for any model since the warranty came from a THIRD PARTY VENDOR) was that it came with an insurance policy that would replace your laptop if it was stolen, or fell off the table and died, NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
I remember quizzing the sales person about this feature since obviously two years and ten months after buying this computer SONY would not have the same model available for replacement. What I was told in return that they would send me an equivalent performance laptop or as close as possible but most probably slightly better (still from SONY) than my original since the features in the low end models were rapidly increasing in those days. I thought that was a great deal and bought the machine. Three years later I had too much integrity to toss the computer across the room and ask for another one. But I had lots of confidence traveling for work with that computer. I didn't worry about it getting banged up or stolen in some airport.
ALIENWARE - Do you think that an insurance policy like this for your laptops has marketing value or can justify the added expense of some third party insurance. Would it be a useful or profitable option?
IAMBOX, I agree with Codename 47, beware of GEEKS bearing gifts. I end up being the tech support person for my in-laws and extended family because the local guys are just too uneven in their performance and often ineffective. And the guys in my office that are sent around are overworked, underpaid, undermotivated, and most only know what's in the tech manuals they carry around with them.