Today, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that they had acquired Coffee Equipment Company and its Clover system of coffee machines, single-serving cup makers that will let Starbucks customize your coffee for you.

So what?

The So What is this: Clover coffee machines are networked. They all speak to headquarters via CloverNet, and monitor EVERYTHING about your cup of coffee. From the web site:

Know with CloverNet™, a service that gives you web access to your Clovers. Find out what’s brewing on each of your Clovers right now, and visualize business trends through real-time charting. CloverNet also makes it easy to update brew parameters for all of your coffees, and to keep your Clovers in peak operation through system monitoring.

Starbucks doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the coffee – the machines are pure marketing wizardry, giving real time data flows to central command. This is what makes Clover and CEC a smart acquisition.

Starbucks: Because Google shouldn’t have a lock on Big Brother.

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