We've all been there in one way, shape or form. Whether it's frustration that the folks with a collection of five Starbucks cards and 10 free hours of WiFi are hogging all the outlets, or annoyance that there's laptops everywhere and no free seats to just sit and drink coffee, we've all cursed the laptop-toting crowd at Starbucks at some point. Well, it's about to get a whole lot worse.
In collaboration with its WiFi partner AT&T, Starbucks is doing away with requirements that mean a customer has to be with AT&T or have a Starbucks card to get online. Starting July 1, everyone can get online and it's going to be free.
However, the most interesting part of the announcement is that customers logging on at Starbucks will have access to sites that they'd have to pay for otherwise. According to CNN, sites like WSJ.com, which asks that readers buy a subscription before allowing them access, will be available inside Starbucks.
From the sounds of things, this 'Starbucks online experience' will include a homepage that pulls content from the Wall Street Journal and other sources (like Zagat and Foursquare) and pools them all in place, providing access that way. The attraction for content providers is that people reading at Starbucks might decide to subscribe so they can access the content outside of the coffee chain's stores.
More providers will be announced as July 1 approaches and Starbucks is looking to roll out a partnership with Yahoo! later in the year. So far, this free WiFi and content deal is only being rolled out in U.S. stores.