It might not seem like it, but Starbucks is dying. Starbucks has something like 8000 stores worldwide, most of which are in the U.S. Plans to expand to up to 40,000 stores have been scaled back because of lackluster sales. That’s why I was surprised by this announcement in the Seattle PI that Starbucks will begin offering wireless (possibly even free wireless) through AT&T instead of T-Blow-mobile.
Starbucks has lost its soul. Their espresso drinks aren’t even made by hand anymore. They need to do something, and free wireless is just the tip of the iceberg.
I know in other parts of the world, free wireless is not the norm. Just try finding a free wifi spot in Germany for example, it’s nearly impossible. T-Mobile has a complete stranglehold on that place. I don’t understand why independent cafes, coffee shops and bars across Europe don’t offer free access, but that’s another thread.
In most cities and towns across the U.S., free access is the rule not the exception. Starbucks needs to embrace this or continue to decline in market relevance. I hope their move to AT&T signals a step in the right direction.