For a while now, McDonalds has been trying to convince consumers its coffee is just as good as hi-falutin’ chains like Starbucks, only without having to pretend you speak French or know how to read. Now, the fast food giant is taking on Starbucks’ cozy relationship with Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch by offering free Wi-Fi to all Microsoft Zune owners at almost 10,000 McDonalds locations around the United States. In-restaurant Wi-Fi for McDonalds is handled by Wayoort, which is also providing free Wi-Fi to selected AT&T broadband subscribers at McDonalds restaurants, along with Nintendo DS handheld gaming systems and the ZipIt wireless messaging service.
“Wayport is pleased to be working with Microsoft to make it easier for Zune users to access music on the go,” said Wayport’s VP of business development and marketing Dan Lowden, in a statement. “Our ability to enable and manage applications and devices over converged networks creates exciting new opportunities for our clients to attract new customers whose digital lifestyle extends beyond their home and office.”
Microsoft has also released version 3.0 of its Zune software, which brings new features to every model of Microsoft Zune, not just the most recent ones. The new software enables Zune Channels, per-track or Zune Pass subscription pricing on music, buy-from-FM functionality that enables users to buy tracks they hear over the radio, along with support for audiobooks from Audible.com. Microsoft is offering a free 14-day Zune Pass trial available to all new customers.
Microsoft has also announced new online-exclusive varieties of the Zune 16 and Zune 120: the units are available in black at retailers, but also available in blue, pink, red, and green online; Microsoft is also updating its collection of Zune Originals artwork users can choose to customize their units.