It looks like the days when mobile warriors who park themselves at Starbucks for a couple of hours are no longer welcomed. At least, that is the case in New York. How about you? Do you have the same experience at your local Starbucks outside of NY?
I don't see that happening at the local stores around me. However, a local Borders store, before getting closed down a few months back, blocked off the outlets. And let's just say that it did not improve the traffic into the bookstore.
As mentioned in the Yahoo post where I read this, I doubt there is an official Starbucks policy. And WSJ was able to obtain a statement to this effect. I think they're going to take a way and see policy and gauge the traffic. I reckon these locations in NY probably have a very high foot traffic. And even if the "laptop loungers" end up going elsewhere to do their mobile stuff, there are probably more than enough traffic to replace them.
Again, locally, it's not going to be a big deal for me. I am within walking distance of two Starbucks (six stores that is within biking distance). There are busy times but for the most part, it's hardly at capacity for more than an hour or so at a time. And at a Starbucks on Colorado Blvd near Pasadena City College, the store looks like it was built to cater to loungers and students.
Furthermore, while I have railed about battery life in today's mobile devices, keeping someone with a Dell laptop from charging up might move him along after a couple of hours. But if the user has a Macbook with 8-10 hours of battery life or a tablet like the iPad or a Xoom (10 hours), plugging up the outlets will not do anything. They probably won't nice.