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McKinsey & Co.
Extended warranty firm touts quick fix

More and more, shoppers are heeding the advice of consumer advocates who every holiday season warn against buying extended warranties for television sets, cellphones and computers. Steve Abernethy doesn't see this as a problem, even though his company, SquareTrade, is in what he has dubbed the "obsolescence-proofing" business. It sells guarantees against any electronic product's failure or your money back, no matter where you bought it. "My goal is to turn a $10-billion industry into a $5-billion market," with SquareTrade owning most of it, said Chief Executive Abernethy, a Harvard MBA and a former management consultant with McKinsey & Co. "I would like...

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