This Coffee Maker Has DRM to Lock Out Competitor's Refills - Update

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This Coffee Maker Has DRM to Lock Out Competitor's Refills - Update

keurig coffee maker

The "Keurig 2.0" coffee maker will feature "lock out" technology to stop people from refilling it with competitor's coffee.

Update: Keurig has responded to the widespread negative feedback regarding this change, assuring fans that "It's critical for performance and safety reasons that our new system includes this technology." Safety reasons. That's a good one.

Source: Tech Dirt

Original Story: Just like with printers, coffee maker manufacturers know that getting the device into your home is just phase one, the real money is in refills. Unlike printers, though, coffee makers have been pretty universal so far, meaning you can easily insert a competitor's "pod" into any machine. Keurig aims to put an end to that, however, with the first-ever DRM-laden coffee maker.

"Green Mountain has announced a new anticompetitive plan to maintain its monopoly by redesigning its brewers to lock out competitors' products. Such lock-out technology cannot be justified based on any purported consumer benefit, and Green Mountain itself has admitted that the lock-out technology is not essential for the new brewers' function. Like its exclusionary agreements, this lock-out technology is intended to serve anticompetitive and unlawful ends."

The preceding quote comes from a lawsuit filed against Keurig by TreeHouse Foods, a rival coffee maker-maker. It also claims that Keurig has been busy striking exclusionary agreements with suppliers and distributors to lock competing products out of the market, on top of its physical "coffee maker DRM".

I drink coffee out of cans from the vending machine, so I have close to no idea how this would even work, but apparently it does, as Keurig's CEO stated on a recent earnings call that the new maker indeed won't work with "unlicensed" pods as part of an effort to deliver "game-changing performance."

"Keurig 2.0" is expected to launch this fall.

Source: Tech Dirt

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Somehow, I don't expect this to get the same level of ire as Microsoft did.

I have a Keurig. Mine just punctures a hole top and bottom of the coffee pod and it pours hot water. Haven't got a clue how they managed it.

Oh well. I'm an Organic Ethiopian Coffee drinking master race anyways.

Steven Bogos:

I drink coffee out of cans from the vending machine

Do you live in Asia or something?

So, what's next? Certain types of cars only work with Shell gas? Toasters can only toast certain types of bread? Ovens will only work with specific cookie sheets? Milk will only stay cold in certain fridges that scan a chip in the carton and approve the milk? Am I going too far with this?

This seems rather silly on the one hand, and yet on the other hand makes sense. I mean, you don't get PS3 games to work on the 360. So I guess if it is your company's coffee maker, it makes sense to make it so only your coffee will work with it. Of course, if people decide they no longer want to use your product because of this, then you are going to be in trouble.

Next Up, cars that permanently breakdown every 5 years in order to maintain superior quality for their valued customers.

Even though I do not use these machines I hope this lawsuit works because this lockout is simply bullshit and anti-consumer.

Sniper Team 4:
So, what's next? Certain types of cars only work with Shell gas

Interesting that we came to similar conclusions.

This reads like something off The Onion. What a load.
Er, the coffee thing, not the article.

So what's to stop people from just using the original Keurig machines then? If that's the only substantial thing that the "Keurig 2.0" offers than I see no point in upgrading honestly, especially if the competitor's refills are in fact cheaper.

Saulkar:
Next Up, cars that permanently breakdown every 5 years in order to maintain superior quality for their valued customers?

Even though I do not use these machines I hope this lawsuit works because this lockout is simply bullshit and anti-consumer.

Sniper Team 4:
So, what's next? Certain types of cars only work with Shell gas

Interesting that we came to similar conclusions.

I think it's funny that cars - one of the most standardised consumer machines for the last century - seems to be the default slippery slope argument. I see it all the time when it comes to Apple vs. PC debates, and DRM debates, and just about any other tech debates...

Because it worked SO WELL for video games, right? I suppose if you're looking to lose customers as fast as possible, there is no better way.

Steven Bogos:
Keurig 2.0" is expected to launch this fall.

I misread that as "Keurig 2.0" is expected to fail" and smiled inside. Then I re-read it and hoped it would fail anyway.

Whoever thought up this DRM needs to have lots and lots of coffee beans inserted into every orifice of their body.

I don't think this will work out well for them. People who were drinking their coffee from their machine won't be affected, and people who were drinking other coffee from their machine, will buy their competitors' machines. Face it; their choice of coffee is going to be more important to them than their choice of glorified water heater.

i don't actually know anyone...nor have i in fact ever known that i can remember...who actually owns and uses a dedicated coffee machine.

mostly on account of us having these great things called "kettles"...

is this like some huge "in every kitchen" brand name i'm not aware of ?

...cause if not surely a smart, "discerning" coffee consumer would just buy a machine they can put any coffee they want in ?...

in which case...great move making people not want to buy your coffee machine guys...

Sleekit:
i don't actually know anyone...nor have i in fact ever known someone...who actually owns a coffee maker.

mostly on account of us having these things called "kettles"...

I take it you're not from the U.S. then. I don't know anyone who doesn't own a coffeemaker. Hell, I have one and I don't even drink coffee.

TheRealCJ:

I think it's funny that cars - one of the most standardised consumer machines for the last century - seems to be the default slippery slope argument. I see it all the time when it comes to Apple vs. PC debates, and DRM debates, and just about any other tech debates...

Because they are such an important part of several people's lives. The general worry is that one day the general public's apathy towards the problems associated with incrementally growing anti-consumer practices may be so great that they would not react to it slowly expanding from luxuries into much more integral products and tools. Furthermore the car is an easy to relate to object and thus easy to understand the consequences of losing certain ownership rights over it. The car might never encounter draconian DRM like oversights but none the less it makes it easy to explain to other people with something they feel strongly about.

Oh the bright side I was planing on getting a Cuisinart anyway. Wonder how long until these things get mod chips.

Never heard of these Keurig machines really. What puzzles me is why would anyone go for coffee maker that uses pods in the first place? It goes totally in the opposite direction of getting the machine itself.
Point of coffee maker is to have superb coffee taste because the coffee put inside was fresh (ideally freshly ground). There are machines that do that for you on the market. Pods are on the other side of the spectrum completely denying the purpose of coffee makers.

Krups or DeLonghi to name some real makers.

Stevepinto3:

Sleekit:
i don't actually know anyone...nor have i in fact ever known someone...who actually owns a coffee maker.

mostly on account of us having these things called "kettles"...

I take it you're not from the U.S. then. I don't know anyone who doesn't own a coffeemaker. Hell, I have one and I don't even drink coffee.

consumerism gone mad! :P

anyway nope (Scotland).

round here household coffee comes in a jar as far as most people are concerned.
a machine like that is generally seen as an unnecessary palaver.

Sleekit:

Stevepinto3:

Sleekit:
i don't actually know anyone...nor have i in fact ever known someone...who actually owns a coffee maker.

mostly on account of us having these things called "kettles"...

I take it you're not from the U.S. then. I don't know anyone who doesn't own a coffeemaker. Hell, I have one and I don't even drink coffee.

consumerism gone mad! :P

anyway nope (Scotland).

round here household coffee comes in a jar as far most people are concerned.
a machine like that is generally seen as an unnecessary palaver.

in america, if we want tea we nuke the water and add a tea bag of desired flavor, and add copious amounts of sugar or artificial sweetener.

KouDy:
Never heard of these Keurig machines really. What puzzles me is why would anyone go for coffee maker that uses pods in the first place? It goes totally in the opposite direction of getting the machine itself.

Keurig does have a refillable filter so you don't necessarily have to buy the ready made ones, not sure if the other brands have this as well

Jaeger_CDN:

KouDy:
Never heard of these Keurig machines really. What puzzles me is why would anyone go for coffee maker that uses pods in the first place? It goes totally in the opposite direction of getting the machine itself.

Keurig does have a refillable filter so you don't necessarily have to buy the ready made ones, not sure if the other brands have this as well

What we have here at work (Rowenta brand) is lever one. You have place where you put your ground coffee and with some 15 bar pressure hot water goes through that into cup. After that you just empty the used coffee, wash it and you can make another with new coffee. Does that count? :)

Ok... so look into it, a 400g bag of coffee costs around 7 bucks... which is roughly 50 cups of coffee.
OR
I can spend $14 for 16 cups of crappy pre-ground Starbucks pods....

It's hilarious enough they think their coffee makers are worth more than $40 and it cost several times more than a regular fresh cup, but now the want to lock away competition so they can charge more for pods?

Sleekit:
i don't actually know anyone...nor have i in fact ever known that i can remember...who actually owns and uses a dedicated coffee machine.

mostly on account of us having these great things called "kettles"...

is this like some huge "in every kitchen" brand name i'm not aware of ?

...cause if not surely a smart, "discerning" coffee consumer would just buy a machine they can put any coffee they want in ?...

in which case...great move making people not want to buy your coffee machine guys...

Automatic machines is one of the fastest growing markets over here right now. Old fashioned coffee makers are still on top, kettles are falling behind and those that use capsules or pods are growing quickly. personally I grind my own beans, I don't ever intend to get a pod machine unless it's an emergency. They're cheap, but they require that you buy expensive pods or capsules to use them.

Fox12:
Somehow, I don't expect this to get the same level of ire as Microsoft did.

Of course not, there are plenty of options, this brand isn't that huge and most "hardcore" coffee enthusiasts would never go for a machine that uses pods. This machine is more like Ouja than Xbox One if we were to make analogs between gaming.

mysecondlife:
I have a Keurig. Mine just punctures a hole top and bottom of the coffee pod and it pours hot water. Haven't got a clue how they managed it.

It's quite simple actually. Lots of these fully automatic machines using capsules or pods have some kind of bar code reader that can read information on the pods or capsules. This is most commonly used to read information such as the coffee type so that it makes a tiny cup when you want an espresso or a ristretto and a big cup if you want a lungo.All they need to do is to program it to also read a code that says the pod is made by Keurig and there you go. Of course, they may use a different mechanism, but this is one way of doing it.

OT: I would like to point out that technically this isn't DRM since that means digital rights management.

mysecondlife:
I have a Keurig. Mine just punctures a hole top and bottom of the coffee pod and it pours hot water. Haven't got a clue how they managed it.

Oh well. I'm an Organic Ethiopian Coffee drinking master race anyways.

Steven Bogos:

I drink coffee out of cans from the vending machine

Do you live in Asia or something?

Yeah I live in Japan

Keiichi Morisato:
in america, if we want tea we nuke the water and add a tea bag of desired flavor, and add copious amounts of sugar or artificial sweetener.

hang on...lemmie get this straight...you "nuke" Tea ?...sweet Jesus what foul heresy is this ?! begon demon

i kid...

just as long as you don't put the milk in first...

Hmmm.

I wonder if we could talk GOG into branching out into the coffee market.

Think they would go for that?

"We here at GOG know that coffee-piracy stems from anti-consumer practices like coffee DRM which ultimately don't work. We are vehemently against DRM in all it's forms which is why we only sell DRM free coffee and makers. Yes, we do run the risk of some people pirating our version of coffee and makers but we feel that by offering a better service, like keeping our coffees updated to the latest coffee-maker operating systems as well as offering free extras like coffee wallpapers and cup-o-joe soundtracks, we can convince many coffee pirates to turn to purchasing our products legitimately." - Anonymous GOG employee

Oh no...guess I'll just keep not drinking coffee...

Seriously though this is bullshit, I do have one of this "1.0" machines in my house and it kinda disgusts me that even coffee makers are going the route of DRM. Regardless, I can't stand the taste of coffee so I drink that poison called energy drinks instead.

Fox12:
Somehow, I don't expect this to get the same level of ire as Microsoft did.

Well, for one, there's more than three coffee manufacturers who make this sort of device, so it doesn't come anywhere as close as big of an impact on the relevant market.

In the flip-side, I bet there will be a lot fewer people calling complainers entitled or defending the move.

Jorec:
So what's to stop people from just using the original Keurig machines then?

Nothing, for the time being. I'm assuming they're going to eventually die out, though.

More importantly, if these pod machines are otherwise universal, what's to stop them from moving to another brand? This is the sort of thing that tends to only work if a sizable chunk of the market adopts its.

TheRealCJ:

I think it's funny that cars - one of the most standardised consumer machines for the last century - seems to be the default slippery slope argument. I see it all the time when it comes to Apple vs. PC debates, and DRM debates, and just about any other tech debates...

There's a lot of Americans online and Americans love their cars. Speaking of Americans....

Stevepinto3:

I take it you're not from the U.S. then. I don't know anyone who doesn't own a coffeemaker. Hell, I have one and I don't even drink coffee.

I don't own a coffee maker. My brother doesn't either (he has a kettle for tea) and my father microwaves his coffee for...Whatever reason. My mom owns two of these things--specifically the pod makers--one at home, one at her office. We're all American.

Strictly speaking this isn't DRM. I would go so far as to say that the concept isn't even the same. It is the equivalent of Steam suddenly only allowing you to download Valve's games and Origin only allowing you to download games published by EA. If we are comparing this to DRM, the correct thing would be to say that Keurig pods only work in Keurig machines, which is not the case here.

ANYWAY, this is both a stupid and smart business choice.

Sniper Team 4:
So, what's next? Certain types of cars only work with Shell gas? Toasters can only toast certain types of bread? Ovens will only work with specific cookie sheets? Milk will only stay cold in certain fridges that scan a chip in the carton and approve the milk? Am I going too far with this?

This seems rather silly on the one hand, and yet on the other hand makes sense. I mean, you don't get PS3 games to work on the 360. So I guess if it is your company's coffee maker, it makes sense to make it so only your coffee will work with it. Of course, if people decide they no longer want to use your product because of this, then you are going to be in trouble.

its just a heads up not to buy the "Keurig 2.0".

thanks Keurig.
i'll see you again when you are going bankrupt or start to backpedal like crazy.

Sleekit:

Keiichi Morisato:
in america, if we want tea we nuke the water and add a tea bag of desired flavor, and add copious amounts of sugar or artificial sweetener.

hang on...lemmie get this straight...you "nuke" Tea ?...sweet Jesus what foul heresy is this ?! begon demon

on the one hand, its a joke.
on the other it would explain so much considering that radiation is bad for your cells. any kind of cells.

Yopaz:

Automatic machines is one of the fastest growing markets over here right now. Old fashioned coffee makers are still on top, kettles are falling behind and those that use capsules or pods are growing quickly. personally I grind my own beans, I don't ever intend to get a pod machine unless it's an emergency. They're cheap, but they require that you buy expensive pods or capsules to use them.

they also break easily and are a pain in the ass to repair.

the old clunky and mostly mechanical machines are the best. really expensive, but they will last you for a long time.

I don't understand what's wrong with making simple pots of coffee and why these wasteful individual cups are catching on. It seems like a fad to me... but then again I'm a tea drinker, life is so much easier as a tea drinker.

French Press Master Race vs Keurig Drinking Peasants! I sense it brewing...

I don't really see how anyone would have a problem with this, given that the box is clearly labeled 'Only works with X pods'. Otherwise simply buy another machine, they all do the same thing don't they?

Scorpid:
I don't understand what's wrong with making simple pots of coffee and why these wasteful individual cups are catching on. It seems like a fad to me... but then again I'm a tea drinker, life is so much easier as a tea drinker.

If you're not a morning person, brewing coffee can be quite a chore. Personally, I can't stand the stuff, but when I was a kid much entertainment was had watching my mother try to fix her morning caffeine. Part of it may be laziness, but I can understand the temptation to just have a thing where you snap a plastic cup into place if you can barely think in the morning.

Funny, for some reason I was always under the impression that pod technology was something that Keurig had patented or whatnot. That not just any company could hop onto the moneytrain by producing them.

In any case, if the 2.0 ends up having one of those basket pods that lets you use any kind of grounds, there might not be much of a problem.

Ok i hope this is a joke. what kind of insane person decided this is a good idea. i hope they have a spectacular failure and file for bancrupcy because of this. any company that tries this does not deserve to stay on the map.

Sniper Team 4:
So, what's next? Certain types of cars only work with Shell gas? Toasters can only toast certain types of bread? Ovens will only work with specific cookie sheets? Milk will only stay cold in certain fridges that scan a chip in the carton and approve the milk? Am I going too far with this?

No, your not. Then again gaming industry was always allowed to get away with it (exclusives) so i guess somone else tried this nonesense too.

Jorec:
So what's to stop people from just using the original Keurig machines then? If that's the only substantial thing that the "Keurig 2.0" offers than I see no point in upgrading honestly, especially if the competitor's refills are in fact cheaper.

the same as what stops people from using windows 98. not only they refuse to sell and support it, others have too. you cna use it now, sure, but in 15 years of only 2.0 being on sale, how many of them will be supported you think?

TheRealCJ:

I think it's funny that cars - one of the most standardised consumer machines for the last century - seems to be the default slippery slope argument. I see it all the time when it comes to Apple vs. PC debates, and DRM debates, and just about any other tech debates...

I think cars are often used because it is something everyone knows (every know what is a car and how its used) and is also undisguisedly a physical good. On top of that, most people have one. so its an easy example.

Sleekit:
i don't actually know anyone...nor have i in fact ever known that i can remember...who actually owns and uses a dedicated coffee machine.

Im in this camp as well, i dont know a single person that owns a machine. Enthusiasts make coffe the old way with real beans, the rest of the folks just pour it directly into the cup.

Keiichi Morisato:

in america, if we want tea we nuke the water and add a tea bag of desired flavor, and add copious amounts of sugar or artificial sweetener.

another concept i find no reason to exists. who the hell warms liquids in microwave!

rhizhim:

on the other it would explain so much considering that radiation is bad for your cells. any kind of cells.

That depends how you look at it, but it wont be correct either way.
For one, Water has no "Cells" in it unless you count floating bacteria that is everywhere and hope they mutate enough instead of dieing to actually harm us.

Even then, depends on what you consider "Radiation". technically, all waves are radiation. Light is radiation. Heat is radiation. sound is radiation. electricity is radiation. so yes, microwaves is radiation too. In that case you would be wrong about their harm however. for example heat is essential to our survival, without it our bodies cannot function. too much ehat is bad, sure, but its not inherently bad. Im sure you get the point here.
Now, if you look at radiation in the laymens terms, where its usually limited to radioactive radiation, then once again you would be wrong here, since microwaves do not spread that.
Microwave principle is exciting water molecules through the correct calibration of wavelenght, that transfers energy into water molecules, making them move around. Moving around spends kinetic energy which gets transformed into heat, thus the water heats up. this is why its technically impossible to heat up 100% dry products in microwaves - it only affects water. of course there is no 100 % dryness due to humidity in the air nor are all microwaves perfect calibration.

Mumorpuger:
French Press Master Race vs Keurig Drinking Peasants! I sense it brewing...

Those dirty Keurig peasants! They will never reach our glory!

Seriously, them aster race shtick seems to have caught up quite well.

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