Hey Cool! Starbucks has free wifi… oh wait..they duffed it

February 12, 2008

Looks like Starbucks is offering free wifi at stores nationwide soon. Fantastic! Awesome! Welcome to 2002, Starbucks!

Upon further investigation its, Free Wifi*

Notice the asterisk…. According to Starbucks’ announcement:

It is a deal with AT&T where you get it free for up to two hours, then its payola again, just like the crappy deal they had with T-Mobile. Oh and you have to have a Starbucks card or an AT&T account. And you apparently have to setup an AT&T user name. And you can buy time if you don’t have a card or account. Is this really even newsworthy?

Apparently, Starbucks still wants to try and squeeze money out of a service that has generally been free at most other coffee shops for years. Why? It is one of the last things that the small coffee shops can do to lure people away from the Starbucks Machine… well that and way better coffee (cough cough OKAFES cough). I can still remember how funny it was in Gainesville where they offered their garbage T-Mobile wifi, even though the city had wifi FREE pumped all over downtown. People would pile into the coffee shop, using gville wifi for free. Think of all the money they DIDN’T lose! Of course, a much better coffee shop was across the street, but I digress.

I usually admire the big green machine as a company. They are massively profitable, ever expanding and make, well, decent coffee. But I still don’t understand their insistence on pay-for-wifi. What do they gain? They must have gotten a big payday from AT&T. That’s all I can see.

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