Can you believe it? Applying “Digital Rights Management” (DRM) to lock-down coffee pods? Why, you may ask? To prevent you from using K-Cups from competitors! And to think that I was primarily concerned with DRM on purely “digital” products (i.e., ebooks, software, movies, etc.). Remember… DRM, in any form, only RESTRICTS your rights or use of a product.
Of course, we can be sure this doesn’t have ANYTHING at all to do with the fact that their K-Cup patent expired, allowing cheaper (& sometimes tastier) competitor “pods” to appear on the market over the past year or two. A recent lawsuit against Green Mountain by Treehouse Foods, Inc., says it all:
… Green Mountain previously owned certain patents that allowed it to exclude competition for the sale of the most popular format of those “portion packs” — the “K-Cup” format — but those patents expired in 2012. However, rather than compete for market share on the merits or fulfill its statutory obligation to enable competitors to practice its invention after its patents expired, Green Mountain has abused its dominance in the brewer market by coercing business partners at every level of the K-Cup distribution system to enter into anti-competitive agreements intended to unlawfully maintain Green Mountain’s monopoly over the markets in which K-Cups are sold. …
You can read the entire lawsuit here (beware… it’s 141 pages in length & approx 2MB).
Gee… like having 85+% of the coffee-pod market isn’t enough? Green Mountain has to have more??? That’s precisely what is wrong with much of corporate America today, be it Comcast, AT&T, Monsanto, etc., basically most any monopoly. They NEVER seem to have enough, and strive to obtain even more & more… at the expense of? — yeah, us — their pathetic consumers.
Anywho’s… am I concerned or upset about Keurig’s announced DRM plans? Not really, as I’m not that interested in single-serve brewers. If — and I say “if” — I were to consider a single cup coffee brewer, I’d choose only the BUNN MCU Single Cup Multi-Use Home Coffee Brewer. For about the same price as a Keurig, you get a multi-use brewer that handles K-Cups, pods, coffee grounds, tea bags (or leaves), soup, etc, and IMO is constructed much better than any Keurig on the market. I bought one for my 90-yr-old resident mother-in-law nearly a year ago & she loves it, using it daily for coffee; tea & soup at lunch; and tea in the evening.
As for me, I’ve been grinding my own beans now for over 15 years and it’s getting harder to accept pre-ground or any “pod-like” coffee. IMHO, even the cheapest 2.5 lb bag of coffee beans from Costco’s or Sam’s Club tastes orders of magnitude better than any pre-ground or K-Cup brew, and you can’t beat the price advantage — less than 10 cents/cup vs. 45-70 cents/cup via K-Cup coffee. Even when I’m splurging on gourmet beans, my price/cup seldom exceeds 25 cents.
Here be da scoop:
- Keurig 2.0 brews up DRM to freeze out copycat cups
- Keurig Will Use DRM In New Coffee Maker To Lock Out Refill Market
- Keurig Insists Coffee DRM Brings ‘Interactive-Enabled Benefits’ And Is For Your Own Safety
- Keurig’s next generation of coffee machines will have DRM lockdown
- Why DRM’ed coffee-pods may be just the awful stupidity we need
- How do you DRM a thing like a coffee pod?
So… enjoy your cuppa Joe! No matter how your brew it!