Archives » March 7th, 2003

March 7, 2003

Starbucks meets Bill Gates

Speaking of Starbucks, remember during the All Star Celebrity Windows XP Launch Party of the Stars, Live From Times Square™, when Bill Gates wandered into the Starbucks with his laptop, and ran into Ed Koch and I-Can’t-Believe-I’m-Not-The-Dell-Dude? Every time I’m near a Starbucks now I’m haunted by the image of him in that geeky little jacket, hamming it up for the cameras.

BILL GATES: Hi. I’ll take an 11 megabit 802.11 with a dynamic IP connection. And I’ll have a beverage with it, too.

VENDOR: Oh, your network is up and here’s your drink, sir.

BILL GATES: Wow, that’s a strong double mocha.

VENDOR: Sir, that’s hot chocolate.

BILL GATES: Wireless network, outstanding.

NOT-THE-DELL-DUDE: Dude, isn’t it complicated to go wireless?

MAYOR ED KOCH: No, it’s a snap. You’ll be on the Web faster than the Yankees beat the Mariners.

Yeah, right. Bill Gates doesn’t go to Starbucks. He has Juan Valdez flown in every morning with an urn full of fresh beans.

More WiFi

John C. Dvorak reports (about halfway down the page) that Toshiba is teaming up with Unocal and Circle K to provide WiFi in gas stations and mini marts. He doesn’t say if it’ll be free, but he implies it strongly. And who would spend more than a few minutes in a Circle K parking lot anyway? And although it’s an unlikely combination (check your e-mail while filling up? I thought you were supposed to turn electronic devices off), it still shows that the walls are breaking down. Starbucks will have to cave one day.

When the whole country is giving away free Web access for casual travelers, you can thank Toshiba.

…After a little research, I find out that Starbucks just lowered their prices a little, to $30 a month or $6 a day. (You see what happens when you actually look around, instead of just making things up!) It seems like they’re experimenting to find a price point that works. I think a per-minute charge, maybe a nickel or a dime (with no minimum, right Doc?), is what it’s going to take to bring people in. Die hard users will get the monthly pass, but it’s the occasional passers-by that they need to capture. $6 is still too much, unless you’re going to be using it for hours.

Much more WiFi stuff is at Jon Schull’s site.