Keurig, creators of the leading single cup of coffee brewer technology, the K-Cup, is fitting its new machines with its own version of DRM (Digital Rights Management). The company announced that only “approved and licensed” K-Cups would work in the new machines, assumedly meaning your choices of Morning Joe will be limited to those manufacturers who provide a revenue stream to Keurig. Rather annoyed by the idea that I can’t do what I wish with something I have purchased, I wrote to Keurig asking them to reconsider their flawed idea.
I received a timely, but worthless response:
Thank you for contacting us. The Keurig® 2.0 brewing system features advanced functionality that has been developed in response to consumer feedback. Both current Keurig brewer owners and non-owners told us the brewer functionality they wanted most was the ability to brew both a single serving and a pot of coffee from one system with Keurig speed, convenience and brand choice. Our next generation Keurig 2.0 brewers will do just that, utilizing the now over 250 available varieties as well as future partnerships to offer the perfect cup or pot of coffee for any occasion.
To ensure the Keurig 2.0 system delivers on the promise of excellent quality beverages, produced simply and consistently, the system uses interactive technology. This means that the brewer will be able to recognize the type of Keurig pack that has been inserted, whether a single-serve or a carafe pack, and therefore guarantee the perfect beverage every time.
We certainly appreciate your feedback and I will be sure to forward your comments along to the appropriate departments. If you have any further questions regarding our products, please feel free to contact us at 866-901-BREW (2739). Representatives are available seven days a week from 7am to midnight, EST.
Keurig At Home Customer Service
1 866 901 BREW (2739)”
In other words, we know what’s best for you, regardless of the fact that third party refills are between 5 and 25% cheaper than Keurig’s fare. People have also been using reusable pods. However, this new plan would ensure that you won’t be using a Keurig for that cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain.
Not to be locked out of the market, Treehouse Foods has filed a lawsuit (pdf) against Keurig, claiming state antitrust and unfair competition statutes, violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and common law violations by monopolizing the market. They mention that, oh by the way, Green Mountain (Keurig’s parent) had patents on K-Cups, but those expired in 2012, opening the market that they are now attempting to put back in its bottle (or K-Cup).
Keep your eyes on this lawsuit. Next might be a car that only accepts one manufacturer’s tires, laptops whose hard drives reformat if you try to use 3rd party cases, or music you can only play on one type of machine. Ooops. Guess they already did that one…