Microsoft & Starbucks Team Up for In-Store Network

Two of Seattle’s world leaders, Microsoft and Starbucks, announced today that they are teaming up
to bring high-speed wireless broadband Internet services to Starbucks locations across North America using MobileStar Network Corporation’s wireless broadband network.

It is expected that Richardson, Texas-based MobileStar will deploy the network infrastructure beginning in late spring.

The planned technologies represent an early step in Microsoft’s delivery on the .NET vision of software that empowers users any time, any place and on any device and Starbucks’ desire to address the needs of its mobile and Internet savvy customers.

Customers will be able to access broadband content and services (such as email and corporate intranets) using their own wirelessly enabled laptops, smart phones, Pocket PCs and other handheld devices — all while enjoying a cup of Starbucks coffee (or a Strawberry Smoothie for non-coffee drinkers).

Apparently the in-store network complements a broader Starbucks effort to update store technology to streamline operations and communications. Starbucks is looking into initiatives such as the launch of a Starbucks customer card that will speed up in-store ordering and payment and the capability for customers to preorder drinks over their cellular phones.

“A focus on continually improving store operations and enhancing our customers’ experience underlies our success as a retailer,” says Darren Huston, senior vice president of New Ventures at Starbucks. “These
agreements enable us to take a big step toward both goals at the same time.”

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