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February 10, 2006

Rock Star-bucks

Posted by Monica Soto at 5:46 PM

Starbucks, the ubiquitous specialty-coffee retailer, said it plans to use its extensive Wi-Fi footprint to one day allow customers to download music onto portable players inside its cafes.

Starbucks gave no timeline toward offering the service. When asked whether it plans to partner with a digital music provider such as Apple Computer, Chairman Howard Schultz answered this way:

"We understand the cultural relevance of digitally filling-up" music devices at its locations, he said.'It's in our future.''

T-Mobile wouldn't provide the number of HotSpots inside Starbucks cafes, but said its subscribers can hook up wirelessly to the Internet at more than 7,000 locations in the U.S., including inside Starbucks cafes, FedExKinkos and Hyatt hotels.

The service has helped keep customers inside Starbucks cafes. T-Mobile said the average Starbucks customer stays in the store for five to seven minutes, while the average T-Mobile HotSpot customer spends more than an hour at Starbucks.

Our burning question: Do they at least bother to buy a second cup of coffee?

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