Microsoft Sponsoring Free Boingo Wi-Fi in NYC, San Francisco

In an effort to promote its upcoming Windows 8 operating system, Microsoft will sponsor free Wi-Fi hotspots in New York and San Francisco from now until the end of the year.

The Wi-Fi will be live in six Manhattan subway stations via the Transit Wireless network. The companies did not specify which stations will be included, but Transit Wireless currently serves stations at 23rd St. and 8th Ave., 14th St. and 8th Ave., and 14th St. and 6th Ave, according to its
website. Service in New York City will also extend to 200 “hotzones” starting Nov. 1. In San Francisco, Microsoft promised similar “hotzones” in popular areas like Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, UN Plaza, the Financial District, Nob Hill, and more.

Details about access were not provided, but consumers with Wi-Fi-enabled devices will presumably be able to connect to Boingo wireless networks as they might in the various airports, hotels, and other areas served by the provider.

Microsoft, meanwhile, said the promotion is also intended to showcase the Windows Store within Windows 8.

“At Microsoft, we know that amazing apps are being built in New York and San Francisco, and we want to give talented developers the chance to launch their businesses through the Windows Store,” John Richards, senior director at Microsoft, said in a statement. “We hope our Boingo Wi-Fi sponsorship will introduce the Windows 8 opportunity to app builders in NYC and San Francisco, while providing folks with Wi-Fi connectivity on-the-go.”

Microsoft’s Windows 8 will be released on Oct. 26, while its new Windows Phone 8 smartphone platform is expected on Oct. 29. For more, see Get Ready for Windows 8.
In August, Boingo acquired Cloud Nine Media, a Wi-Fi sponsorship and location-based advertising company, which Boingo said was instrumental in securing the Microsoft deal. Corporate Wi-Fi sponsorships “help partner venues meet their revenue needs, and keep people connected from subway station to city center,” said Boingo’s Dawn Callahan.

“New York is always bustling during the holidays, and Microsoft’s sponsorship of Boingo Wi-Fi on the Transit Wireless subway wireless network will help straphangers stay connected,” said Jerry Page, MTA director of strategic initiatives. “We’ve received positive feedback from our subway riders on Boingo’s sponsored Wi-Fi, and look forward to having them continue this free service through the holidays.”

In July 2010, Transit Wireless received a contract to outfit all 277 NYC subway stations with Wi-Fi and a pilot kicked off last year.