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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

March 21, 2007 at 3:21 PM

A timely debate on Starbucks

AP

You can find a Starbucks in the Forbidden City in Beijing, but having a store located there has provoked some controversy and protest.

Today’s Starbucks shareholders meeting offered interesting fodder for debate, and more is on tap at a discussion next week on the role of chain retailers on Main Street.

Years ago, it would have been strange to think of McDonald’s giving Starbucks some competition. But Starbucks’ aggressive global expansion increasingly draws such comparisons, and now so does McDonald’s coffee.

In addition, the company that prides itself on social responsibility is now getting some push back in places like China, where opposition has grown to its opening a cafe inside the 600-year-old Forbidden City.

Is Starbucks becoming too ubiquitous? Are three stores on the same street necessary?

Those questions are up for debate during the “Chains on Main” session during a national conference on “Building a Sustainable Future,” which is hosted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The discussion takes place Tuesday morning from 9 to 10:15 at the Westin Seattle.

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