McDonalds goes after segment leader Starbucks

When it comes to fast food, McDonalds dominates the market. Likewise, Starbucks has grown to the point where you can't throw a rock without hitting someone carrying a grande Carmel Frappuccino with extra caramel or a tall Café Au Lait.

In its never-ending quest to expand its horizons and try new avenues to grow its business, McDonalds has in recent years gone directly after Starbucks with its own line of espresso coffees, iced drinks muffins and cakes. McDonalds offers the drinks and tasty treats in its slightly more "upscale" McCafe locations.

McDonalds' new line of coffees has received quite a bit of praise in recent times when compared to Starbucks offerings in taste tests -- and McDonalds' pricing not surprisingly undercuts the ever-escalating Starbucks prices.

Not content on topping Starbucks for flavor, McDonalds is now looking to tackle Starbucks when it comes to WiFi access. Coffee patrons often like to walk into Starbucks, place their notebook on a table and browse the Internet while listening to Carole King or Michael Bolton albums. Starbucks offers T-Mobile WiFi access in its 13,000 U.S. stores, but you of course have to pay to play.

McDonalds is also expanding the availability of WiFi access to its customers. McDonalds already offers WiFi access in half of its 30,000 retail locations across the country. The company has also committed to adding 14,000 more McCafe coffee bars to its restaurants -- all will feature WiFi access.

In an effort to further boost the appeal of its McCafe locations and WiFi access, McDonalds and Sony have partnered up to offer free WiFi service to Mylo COM-2 users in 9,000 McDonalds locations.

The expanded availability of WiFi access in McDonalds is surely a welcome addition, but it'd be interesting to see how many people actually want to sit in a McDonalds for an extended period of time.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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