Coming: The E-Wallet Wars

Why you need Microsoft to buy Starbucks online

Shoppers wanting to get their caffeine fix online at Starbucks.com now have only one path to take when they pay for their beans. If they are already registered with Passport, Microsoft's new identity-verification program, they can use it to complete their purchase. If they aren't, they are sent to a site where they can sign up for Passport. What Starbucks.com shoppers can't do: buy their coffee without letting Microsoft be part of the transaction.

It's a preview of the next Internet hot spot, e-wallets, and features two of the Net's fiercest competitors, Microsoft and AOL Time Warner...

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