New Starbucks POS System Behind Its M-Commerce Problem?

Starbucks' recent problems with its iPhone M-Commerce application--specifically its inability to facilitate actual purchases—are the result of its preparations to replace the chain's entire POS system, according to a vendor that has been in discussions with the coffee chain about mobile integration. From Starbucks' perspective, it made little sense to integrate a mobile application into a system that was about to be gone, thereby forcing the mobile integration to have to be redone from scratch, said Jorge Fernandes, CEO of Mobibucks, a mobile vendor that, according to Fernandes, was in talks with Starbucks recently about a payment application.

Fernandes' comment is consistent with suggestions from Starbucks headquarters managers—along with other Starbucks employees—that the lack of POS integration is a temporary issue, although no one said when or how the problem would be resolved. Starbucks did not respond to a request for comment on Fernandes' remarks. Even if true, the question remains of why Starbucks didn't simply delay the entire mobile application until the POS situation was resolved. Presumably, the chain wanted an iPhone application out in time for the holidays and believed that partial functionality was better than none.