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Surprise! People don't like Keurig's DRM-protected coffeemakers

Mat Smith, @thatmatsmith
February 6, 2015
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Keurig's coffee machines have done great business for its owner Green Mountain Coffee. Making coffee in combination with pretty expensive capsules has made a lot of money for the company, but its latest 2.0 machines have left (excuse me) a bitter taste in the mouths of customers, as Keurig has seen, missing sales and earnings targets in its latest financial report. It cited poor machine sales during the typically lucrative holiday season -- the first quarter that the new Keurigs went on sale. The main issue with the new machines, which can now make coffee both by the cup and in larger quantities, is the DRM-style lockdown on the pods it takes. The popularity of the Keurig machines led to no shortage of cheaper third-party pods, but in an effort to reclaim the lucrative cash cow that was its own coffee pods, the company's second-generation machines packed cameras that detected special ink found only on official Keurig pods. Every other kind of pod simply didn't work.

As is the case with most things DRM, there are always ways to sidestep such protection: Third-party pod producer Rogers even gave away its workaround for free. But such options didn't stop customers complaining everywhere online about such excessive protection in the first place. "Quite simply our 2.0 launch got off to a slower start than we planned," was how Keurig CEO Brian Kelley diplomatically put it, adding that the company was slow to get those all-important 2.0 compatible pods into stores. Older Keurig pods, despite being "official," don't work on the 2.0 machines.

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