Goodbye, Starbucks the music producer and talent spotter. Hello, Starbucks the would-be tastemaker, digital-media operator and iTunes marketing partner.
The coffee chain restructured its entertainment division late last week, most notably by announcing the departure of Ken Lombard (pictured), the division's president, and his replacement with Chris Bruzzo, its chief technology officer.
Facing weaker-than-forecasted earnings, slowing sales and an economic climate that CEO Howard Schultz told investors is "the weakest in our company's history," Starbucks has de-emphasized noncore businesses such as egg muffins and entertainment and tried to put the focus back on beans. But given that it sold 4.4 million CDs last year, it always seemed unlikely Starbucks would abandon the music market entirely. Full Story
Sunday, April 27, 2008