Microsoft's Skype will begin giving travelers free Wi-Fi access Wednesday in more than 50 airports across the U.S. Taking advantage of the promotion, which runs through Dec. 27, requires a free Skype account. The Redmond, Wash. company closed the deal on the Skype acquisition in October after announcing intent to purchase the company in May. The promotion from Skype provides Wi-Fi for laptops and iOS devices. Users can get up to one hour free.
In 2009, Microsoft teamed up with JiWire to offer free Wi-Fi access. The campaign, designed in partnership with UM (Universal McCann), focused on making more people aware of Bing during the launch of the engine. Google also sponsored free Wi-Fi service in flight and airports during the past few years.
The donation ranged from Wi-Fi at 47 of the country's airports to in-flight free access for travelers on Virgin America flights through Gogo's Inflight Internet.
With smartphones now eating up electricity, executives at a Newport Beach, Calif. company believe in placing free cell phone chargers everywhere. Not just electric outlets, but universal chargers that allow consumers to suck up juice to power everything from Apple's iPhone to Amazon's Kindle to Nintendo's DS.
Jeffrey Maganis, ChargeAll founder, said his company plans to place free mobile phone charging stations in hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes around the country. He's got about 200 chargers in inventory, some at Hilton and Marriott hotels. The device charges phones and more at about double the speed.
"This isn't your typical charger," Maganis said, admitting he must pay royalties to Apple because it charges iPhones and iPads. "It goes through heavy testing and quality control to make sure it's compliant with the devices."
One of Apple's third-party contract manufacturers makes the charger for ChargeAll.
How does ChargeAll generate revenue, and how can it produce additional revenue for restaurants and hotels installing the device? "The same way Starbucks makes money through free Wi-Fi," answers Maganis. "People come in, buy coffee, and use the free Internet."
Starbucks makes money from consumers. AT&T generates revenue from Starbucks, and the person uses the service of Wi-Fi.