Keurig Insists Coffee DRM Brings 'Interactive-Enabled Benefits' And Is For Your Own Safety

from the I-got-this-scar-from-my-coffee-maker dept

As we recently discussed, Keurig is busy making plans to embed new technology in their new "Keurig 2.0" line of coffee makers that will reject unsanctioned (read: less expensive, competing) coffee pods. The technology would also presumably prevent the use of manual re-usable filters, which are usually found for between five and fifteen bucks online. Keurig's CEO announced the plans to reject "unlicensed pods" last fall, but somehow nobody seemed to really notice the effort until an annoyed competitor pointed it out in a lawsuit (pdf).

Needless to say, Keurig users and the general public weren't particularly enamored of Keurig's plans to lock down their brewing options, with countless users taking to Twitter to complain. The company didn't seem prepared to handle the media reaction to their plans for java-based "DRM." Nor did they seem prepared to give anybody a straight answer, even though their own CEO already confirmed the pod-blocking functionality. As such, Keurig simply started insisting to anyone that asked that the new technology delivered "interactive-enabled benefits":
As you might be able to tell, it appears the company is unwilling to directly acknowledge the fact that they're locking out competitors' less expensive pods. More creative attempts to get Keurig to explain these advanced interactive benefits also proved fruitless:
After a few days and clearly a few meetings, Keurig released a public statement that attempted to flesh out their non-answer. While still refusing to admit something their own CEO already acknowledged, Keurig decided to push the mystery added benefits angle a little harder, even going so far as to claim that blocking you from getting cheaper competing product is about your safety:
"To make brewing a carafe possible, and to continue to deliver everything Keurig lovers already enjoy – high-quality beverages, simplicity, and variety – our new Keurig 2.0 system will feature specially designed interactive technology allowing the brewer to read information about the inserted Keurig pack. With this interactive capability, Keurig 2.0 brewers will “know” the optimal settings for the inserted Keurig pack, for a perfect beverage every time, whether a single cup or a carafe. It’s critical for performance and safety reasons that our new system includes this technology. For those of you who currently own our K-Cup or Vue systems today, we are so happy to have you as part of our family. Rest assured that your brewers will still function as they always have and that your favorite beverages will still be available."
In other words, we must be able to lock competitors' pods (and manual refill units) out of the market to keep you safe from the dangers of potentially lower costs and dreaded coffee-related injury. It's also impossible for us to embed this obnoxious technology in older units, so those will continue to function as you prefer them to -- without us interfering in your purchase options. Sure, you're losing purchase options and will have to pay more for coffee, but isn't the security of knowing your family is safe from the dangers of coffee-related hazards worth it?

Filed Under: coffee, drm
Companies: keurig

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  1. identicon
    Sean, 9 Mar 2014 @ 8:51pm


    As I understand it, the new pods have a flat top with a hemispherical reservoir for whatever the pod contains, and around the underside of the rim is a barcode that identifies the contents of the pod, so that the machine knows whether it's a normal coffee pod and brews a 12-ounce cup of coffee at low pressure, an espresso pod that only needs 2.5 ounces of water but needs to be forced through at high pressure, or is tea or hot chocolate that take different brewing patterns. As such, identifying common patterns between different styles of regular coffee and of espresso would allow the creation of 'generic' barcodes that could be printed on 3rd-party pods to give the same brewing instructions as the OEM pods.

    One possible outcome of the lawsuit is that Keurig would be required to make the barcode algorithm public, so that anyone would be able to make a compatible coffee pod with the correct barcode for brewing in Keurig machines.

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