Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Starbucks Finally Gets a Clue

After lagging behind their competitors for years, Starbucks finally gets a clue and will begin offering free wireless access starting July 1, the company has recently announced.

I do my share of travel, both personal and professional, and am usually armed with a laptop, iPhone, or both. My biggest pet peeve is having to pay for wireless service. Folks, the cost of making wireless connectivity possible is basically jack squat. Most businesses, hotels, and public buildings are already leveraging some kind of wireless connectivity, and the cost of making that available to guests and handling the incremental bandwidth is minimal. The dirty little secret is that the $14.99 you pay per day at a hotel, the $7.99 you pay at the MSP airport, or the $3.99 you paid at Starbucks was nearly all profit that feeds right to the bottom line.

With the propagation of mobile devices being able to leverage wireless capabilities, people are getting more and more savvy about their access to hotspots that don't charge. Hence, Starbucks needed to change. Unfortunately, their sloth in moving has allowed customer loyalty for some to be housed with their competitors. That's a big price to pay for gouging your customers.

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