According to this article in MobilePipeline, it appears that Starbucks is starting to feel threatened by other coffee shops that offer free Wi-Fi to their patrons.
I'm not sure that will happen any time soon, but John Yunker of Byte Level Research thinks it is inevitable. In his monthly wireless newsletter, John bluntly concluded: "The only question is when, not if, Starbucks will offer Wi-Fi for free." To which I can only add a hearty "amen, brother."
I love how the market can force people to reconsider their business practices without having to get the government involved.