As I seem to be spending too much time in fast food restaurants, I found this to be both nice and a bit disconcerting all at the same time… Now, McDonalds has provided wifi access for a few years, but to access this "service" one either needed to purchase time through a provider, or use AT&T DSL internet service in their homes (which got you free unlimited access). Being an AT&T customer, I have enjoyed this service quite often when we "visit" the many… many McDonalds PlayPlaces… However, I recently learned that good ol' Mickey D's is moving to a completely free wifi format!
"McDonald's tonight revealed that its Wi-Fi hotspots will soon be free. The fast food chain is dropping its previous $3, two-hour rate as of mid-January as an effort to turn its stores into "destinations" where customers are encouraged to stay for longer periods and use their notebooks or smartphones." article by electronista
I know what your thinking… You think… "what a generous gesture in these economically troubled times. McDonalds is providing a bit of joy. There couldn't be a catch?"
"These changes also accompany a change in menu that will focus on more coffees and desserts that wouldn't normally accompany a meal by themselves."
Now you are saying, "ooh, I did not see that coming… but their food is so good…"
On one hand you have the blatant capitalist motive… on the other hand, McDonalds is looking at Starbucks, Panera, Barnes and Noble, and many others that are actual destinations for adults and teens to park for LONG periods of time… what was missing from McDonalds that held people at those other places… the internet. While some few already had access… now teens can have a better reason for hanging out than cheap food…
My wife recently said, "I now know what the iPhone is… a gateway drug for internet addiction…" If this is pretty accurate McDonalds just became a full fledged pusher…