Who would have guessed, Starbucks is getting into the smartphone business by investing in mobile payment start-up Square Inc.
Mobile payments will be very important going forward. Starbucks will play a role in that world. It’s already growing rapidly in other parts of the world.
As a first step Starbucks will start using Square technology in 7,000 of its US stores and will invest $25 million in Square, the company.
Starbucks has already entered the electronic wireless payment world in many of their stores starting in January 2011. Customers can download a Starbucks app and charge their purchases to their Apple iPhone or Google Android devices.
This is the next wave that Starbucks sees and they want to play a part in helping it become a reality.
This technology is already commonplace in other countries outside the US so I believe success here is pretty much a forgone conclusion.
It’s more a question of what companies will succeed in this space.
That’s why this high profile investment from Starbucks makes so much sense for Square.
Before long we won’t have to carry cash or even credit cards. We’ll just swipe our smartphone.
Another attraction for Starbucks is it’s exciting for their customers to be on the cutting edge using this new technology.
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Jeff KAGAN| Tech Industry Analyst www.jeffKAGAN.com
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