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Businesses DRM The Almighty Buck Hardware

The Next Keurig Will Make Your Coffee With a Dash of "DRM" 769

Posted by samzenpus
from the pirate-coffee-is-the-best-coffee dept.
FuzzNugget writes "Apparently seeking to lock competitors out of the burgeoning single-serve coffee market, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, maker of the popular Keurig coffee machines, will make their new machines work with licensed pods only. GMCR's CEO confirmed this in a statement: 'The much-anticipated ‘Keurig 2.0’ single-cup brewing system with ‘interactive readability’ (that doesn’t work with unlicensed/copycat pods) will offer such “game-changing functionality” that consumers - and unlicensed players - will want to switch.'"
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The Next Keurig Will Make Your Coffee With a Dash of "DRM"

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  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by B33rNinj4 (666756) on Monday March 03, 2014 @05:50PM (#46390755) Homepage Journal
    Is it really so hard to just grind the beans and brew it yourself? I do this every morning.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jxander (2605655) on Monday March 03, 2014 @05:55PM (#46390813)

      Downside : a normal coffee brew process generates 6-12 cups of Joe.

      I guess we could all switch to a press ... but that's a bit messy and requires a stand alone heating method (I've not the space to keep a proper tea kettle on my office desk)

      Keurig provides a clean single-cup solution

      • Re:Why? (Score:4, Informative)

        by hawguy (1600213) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:00PM (#46390867)

        Downside : a normal coffee brew process generates 6-12 cups of Joe.

        I guess we could all switch to a press ... but that's a bit messy and requires a stand alone heating method (I've not the space to keep a proper tea kettle on my office desk)

        Keurig provides a clean single-cup solution

        Just use an immersion heater [amazon.com] in your coffee mug to heat the water before you dump it in the press.

        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2014 @07:28PM (#46391929)

          One word: Aeropress.

        • by linuxbert (78156)

          you must have a tiny-ass mug then. I Have a Cuisinart maker that grinds, and has a 4 cup setting, which perfectly fills my travel mug.

          that is by biggest complaint about the Keurig - to fill a decent size mug, you need 2 cups on the large setting. at that point you get into the Buy at coffee shop kinda price per cup.

          • Re:Why? (Score:4, Funny)

            by hawguy (1600213) on Monday March 03, 2014 @09:04PM (#46392751)

            you must have a tiny-ass mug then. I Have a Cuisinart maker that grinds, and has a 4 cup setting, which perfectly fills my travel mug.

            that is by biggest complaint about the Keurig - to fill a decent size mug, you need 2 cups on the large setting. at that point you get into the Buy at coffee shop kinda price per cup.

            I think you meant to reply to the grandparent poster. I don't have a tiny-ass mug [geekalerts.com], I have a tiny ass-mug [randommization.com].

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by alphatel (1450715) * on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:03PM (#46390909)

        Downside : a normal coffee brew process generates 6-12 cups of Joe.

        I guess we could all switch to a press ... but that's a bit messy and requires a stand alone heating method (I've not the space to keep a proper tea kettle on my office desk)

        Keurig provides a clean single-cup solution

        Are you on crack? We boil water in an electric kettle in 2.5 minutes, then pour into a press, and blammo, coffee. Keurig provides stupid, bland, watery goop that doesn't leave you with a bunch of grinds to clean up. However, it is neither greener, nor more efficient or even easier really.

        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jxander (2605655) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:20PM (#46391151)

          Does caffeine count as crack?

          No electric kettles in the office. Fire hazard (also no space heaters, or various other personal electronics). They probably shouldn't allow coffee pots either, but YOU try to tell a hundred or so office monkeys that they can't have coffee. Good luck. I suppose I could get a nice tea cosy to disguise the kettle... but like you said, then there's the grounds to deal with. Shaking the press doesn't really get much out of it, and the fire marshal REALLY frowns on my compost pile in my office.

          Keureg is hardly a perfect solution, but it's self contained and low maintenance.

        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:42PM (#46391417)

          However, it is neither greener, nor more efficient or even easier really.

          The "Green Mountain" in their company names refers to the piles of green dollars that they are making with this crap.

        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

          by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Monday March 03, 2014 @07:13PM (#46391787) Homepage

          I have not tried the Keurig but other coffee pod machines I have used and owned produce single cups of pretty damn good coffee, complete with frothed milk, and there is basically zero mess. No mucking about with filters and pots and grinding up beans and aerating milk and all that crap.

          Okay, if I could be bothered I could brew a slightly better cup the traditional way. But with pods I have variety and almost zero effort, ideal for work. It's a very small compromise for a very big gain.

        • Re: Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by lecoupdejarnac (1742408) on Monday March 03, 2014 @11:09PM (#46393559)
          Not only is it less green, but it seems most people don't think about the fact that these machines inject hot water through cheap disposable plastic cups. Lots of coffee machines have plastic parts that the hot water passes through, leaching endocrine-disrupting phthalates as it heats the plastic, right into your coffee cup. I'll stick with my metal water kettle and glass French press.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by HornWumpus (783565)

        A Brazil press is microwave safe. Scratch the bottom to keep from super heating.

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by EMG at MU (1194965) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:07PM (#46390949)
        Every coffee maker I have owned in the past 8 years has had a 1-4 cup option.
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by roc97007 (608802) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:08PM (#46390961) Journal

        Downside : a normal coffee brew process generates 6-12 cups of Joe.

        I guess we could all switch to a press ... but that's a bit messy and requires a stand alone heating method (I've not the space to keep a proper tea kettle on my office desk)

        Keurig provides a clean single-cup solution

        It creates a lot of waste, though. Trendy, but not very green. Kind of like the personal electronics industry.

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:15PM (#46391069)

        Starbuck's Via is also a clean single-cup solution. It is cheaper, smaller and more dependable than the Keurig machine. It is also a format that would be very hard to add DRM, etc.
        Since Keurig wants to punish its customers, I will forgo their stupidity.
        Keurig, like Beta, sucks.

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by wisnoskij (1206448) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:18PM (#46391127) Homepage

        Coffee makers make a little or as much coffee as you want. If you want one cup, only put one cup or water and a proportionate amount of grounds. And you have the added benefit that while brewing many cups of Keurig is a linearly hard problem (meaning that it takes 20 times longer to brew 20 cups), conventional brewing is not.
        When you actually in a situation where you are brewing a lot of coffee, the conventional method becomes more efficient per cup.

        Any computer programmer should be able to tell you which is the overall more efficient solution for the general situation.

        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ynp7 (1786468) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:38PM (#46391365)

          Any computer programmer should also be able to tell you that programming computers requires at least one full pot of coffee, making a Keurig the worst possible solution ever.

        • by retchdog (1319261)

          Drip brewing doesn't really scale well, since it takes time for the grounds to saturate, and a small amount of grounds will form a thin layer; both of these make the percolation happen too fast. Also, the first cup of water won't be quite hot enough for good coffee, unless you have a very good drip machine. (Most drip machines don't heat the water enough, but it's even worse for small amounts of water.)

          A coffee maker intended for 4-6 cups can make a single cup, but it'll be pretty shitty. Use a press, cone,

      • by m93 (684512)
        A press has the downside that it can possibly elevate your cholesterol if you drink coffee regularly from it. Paper filters in the drip process absorb some of the oils present in the coffee (and thus, some of the flavor as well).
        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Jarik C-Bol (894741) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:38PM (#46391355)
          There is no cholesterol in coffee. Coffee does contain the molecule cafestol at about .06% by weight in each coffee bean, and cafestol has been correlated with increased 'bad' cholesterol, (but other positive health effects) and there has been no evidence that paper filters removes cafestol.
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:33PM (#46391315)

        Um... Keurig sucks. I've had their coffee, it's expensive and tastes bland.

        I've been using this for nearly a decade: http://www.amazon.com/Melitta-... [amazon.com]

        Taste great, 1 cup and I can use actual REAL coffee in it!
        also, in a pinch you can make one of these out of a paper cup by poking holes in it and sticking in a regular old filter. The key is not to make the holes too big so the cofee steeps in the hot water for long enough.

        • by jxander (2605655)
          Doesn't that require a separate filter for each cup? And a tea kettle or some other 3rd party heating solution?
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NikeHerc (694644) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:44PM (#46391437)
        Keurig provides a clean single-cup solution ...

        Keurig coffee costs about $30/pound in the local big-name grocery store. I don't know which is worse: DRM or hideously overpriced coffee. I would avoid Keurig like the plague for either reason.
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by ttucker (2884057) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:49PM (#46391511)
        I brew my coffee in a press every morning. It takes about 3 minutes to boil, brew, and clean, an AeroPress.

        http://aerobie.com/products/ae... [aerobie.com]
    • by key134 (673907)

      Is it really so hard to just grind the beans and brew it yourself? I do this every morning.

      I vote for a french press. Though, an AeroPress in intriguing. I can't imagine the people using Keurigs are actually saving any money over just going to a place like Dunkin' Donuts.

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jratcliffe (208809) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:02PM (#46390897)

        I can't imagine the people using Keurigs are actually saving any money over just going to a place like Dunkin' Donuts.

        Keurig machine is about $120. The pods are about $0.65 each (less if you buy in bulk, or on sale, etc.). Small coffee at DD is $1.49. So, you're saving about $0.85/cup. You cover the cost of the machine after about 140 cups, so you definitely are saving money, even more if you're comparing to buying at Starbucks.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Grishnakh (216268)

          Don't forget the cost of your time. Traveling to DD or SB and standing in line for a cup of expensive coffee takes a lot of time (depending on how far you are from the nearest location). If you have your own machine at home, you can have a cup of coffee ready for you in the morning, taking no time at all (I assume the Keurig machines can be programmed to automatically brew a cup at a specified time; make sure you put a cup in place the night before though).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Somehow I just don't trust drinking my coffee that we brewed out of a Lexmark ink cartridge.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Choice.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by carlhaagen (1021273) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:08PM (#46390973)
      It's about the cost, not the coffee or the effort. High price tags attract people who suffer the "spender syndrome" - dishing out a lot of money on something even plain or generic gives these people a feeling of being above the average, being set aside from the rest of us, of enjoying something that is "exclusive" only to their kind.

      It's like when you find the exact same piece of generic furniture sold at (but not designed by) IKEA in some upstreet furniture shop - IKEA would call it "ROBUST" (or whatever) and sell it for $89, while the other "boutique" will call it "Multimedia bench in Nordic pinewood" at thrice the pricetag. People with money will buy it, and they will feel like they did a better deal than paying $89 at IKEA. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book of retail.
    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dreamchaser (49529) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:18PM (#46391123) Homepage Journal

      Not to mention that the Keurig doesn't make coffee that tastes anywhere near as good as fresh ground and brewed or pressed coffee.

  • by Tough Love (215404) on Monday March 03, 2014 @05:51PM (#46390759)

    Coffee from pods is an affront dignity anyway. Get a proper espresso machine, or use a press.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2014 @05:51PM (#46390767)

    That $30 Mr. Coffee espresso maker that breaks down after two years actually makes better economic sense. I amortized the busted unit over two years (sometimes longer) and achieved $0.57/shot espresso. Keurig can suck it.

    • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Monday March 03, 2014 @08:04PM (#46392257)

      By my math, you're saving just $0.01/serving over a Keurig, and you're losing a lot more time on rote actions such as measuring out beans, grinding them, packing the grounds, and cleaning the equipment. Keurig users seem like they probably got the better end of that deal.

      As for my math...
      Assumption: For the sake of argument, the $120 Keurig only lasts for two years, just like your $30 Mr. Coffee
      Assumption: Coffee drinker drinks two cups a day for two years = 1460 servings
      Assumption: An average Keurig pod costs $0.50
      Cost of pods = 1460 servings * $0.50 = $730
      Cost of machine = $120
      Amortized cost = ($730 + $120) / 1460 servings = $0.58/serving

      I tried to base most of my assumptions on numbers that favored you. For instance, though most people buying pods are likely to buy them in bulk for well under $0.50, I went with $0.50 since it was roughly in the middle of the range of prices I was seeing on Amazon. I also assumed that the Keurig would fail after just two years, despite all anecdotal evidence I'm aware of indicating that it would likely last much longer. Similarly, I went with a low rate of consumption so that the higher cost of the Keurig machine would play a greater role in the amortized cost, thus favoring your argument.

      And yet, despite all of that, the difference was surprisingly just $0.01. I didn't game the numbers to try and get that result. It really did just happen to work out that way.

      TL;DR: I'm not recommending Keurig machines, but I also wouldn't suggest that your use case represents a cost savings of any significance. In fact, I'd argue that most people would rather incur the $0.01 cost in order to be free of the hassle of dealing with everything your machine involves.

  • by Jumperalex (185007) on Monday March 03, 2014 @05:53PM (#46390781)

    they deserve to fail miserably and go down in flames.

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot @ s p a d . c o.uk> on Monday March 03, 2014 @05:53PM (#46390789) Homepage

    How much "game-changing functionality" can you really work into a fucking coffee machine?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by alphatel (1450715) *

      How much "game-changing functionality" can you really work into a fucking coffee machine?

      It turns into a coffee fucking machine. See how I did that?

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:04PM (#46390925) Homepage Journal

      To be fair, i think including DRM IS game changing functionality, just in a bad way. Lets hope it fails in the market and others dont follow down that path.

      ( I dont drink mud water and even i know this is a bad precedent )

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by CCarrot (1562079) on Monday March 03, 2014 @07:01PM (#46391673)

      How much "game-changing functionality" can you really work into a fucking coffee machine?

      To me, it sounds like they're planning on emulating Tassimo and their bar-coded brewing system, so the user can use 'milk' pods, tea pods, etc. and the system will brew them differently depending on the scanned and recognized contents (temperature for sure, pressure maybe? size? IDK)

      What they seem to be 'forgetting' is that it was the flexibility and simplicity of the K-Cup system that actually gained them the dominant market share in the first place. Sure you can brew cappucinos and lattes with the Tassimo...but you can use your own favorite coffee brand with the Keurig My K-Cup reusable filter, freshly ground if that's your thing, or spooned out of a Maxwell House container to save money / env. wastage on each cup. Heck, I use my My K-Cup to hold loose tea leaves when I feel like a specialty cuppa...and they're good for two to three cups, too.

      Nope, if they disable their whole BYO ability, I predict that they will wind up in a small corner of a niche market. If they relent and provide a My K-Cup equivalent for the 2.0...well, it's just barely possible that they could survive this bone-headed move, although people will grumble about not having cheap generics available. Either way, watch for stock prices to plunge.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2014 @05:54PM (#46390793)

    I only drink certified genuine OEM HP inkjet printer ink. It's much cheaper than Keuring.

  • by sideslash (1865434) on Monday March 03, 2014 @05:54PM (#46390795)
    Reminds me of when Microsoft attempted to make their own (proprietary, locked in) java.
  • Although I am a heavy user of their current line of products, I appreciate the fact that I have the choice to buy unlicensed pods that are either cheaper or represent coffee that is otherwise unavailable. Surely this will kick open the door for a competitor that can take advantage of their self-disruption!
  • Insert pod, push button. How much interactivity does making coffee *need*?
    • Re:"Interactive" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hawguy (1600213) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:03PM (#46390915)

      Insert pod, push button. How much interactivity does making coffee *need*?

      I'm guessing that the chip in the pod tailors the brewing cycle for the coffee (or tea) in the pod for the best possible quality. Well, as "best" as you can get with pre-ground beans that have sat on the shelf in a pod for a few months.

  • by CambodiaSam (1153015) on Monday March 03, 2014 @05:55PM (#46390807)
    hackmykeurig.com is currently available for purchase. I suspect variations will become popular.
  • Anti competitive (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2014 @05:55PM (#46390809)

    This won't be legal to sell in Europe by the sounds of it..

  • Get out your cartridge razor handle. Find a razor cartridge from a different manufacture and try to mate the two, e.g: Schick stick with Gillette cartridge. It will not work. There is no reason it will not work besides the companies want you to only buy their razors.

    This isn't DRM it is just an update on an old business model that happens to use a small circuit to achieve the same result.
  • by stox (131684)

    a decent cup of coffee out of a Keurig machine anyway?

  • by hamster_nz (656572) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:00PM (#46390865)

    ...just supply a better quality, more desirable coffee? Oh no, that would be too hard!

    DRM technology to the rescue,forcing users to buy crappy or overpriced coffee.

  • The Real Question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:01PM (#46390877) Homepage Journal

    The real question is - after the "Keurig 2.0" hits the shelves, will I be able to use the "Keurig 2.0" pods with my "Keurig 1.0?"

    Or are they going to screw themselves out of my money by trying to force me to "update" to the new model (probably by altering the design of the K-Cup ever-so-slightly), thereby ensuring that the only products I buy for my existing $160 coffee maker are non-Green Mountain brand?

  • by Connie_Lingus (317691) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:05PM (#46390937) Homepage

    i'm wondering where exactly are we going to have to put the piece of black tape or sharpie scribble to disable it...

    lol DRM...will they ever learn?

    knock knock: "OMFG it's the coffee police.,..AGAIN!!"
    "damn, so who forgot the firewall the damn thing this time??"
    "well...shit i was surfing for porn and disabled the FW for freakydeaks,com.."

    pound pound "OPEN UP...WE CAN SMELL THE CRIME BREWING HERE DO NOT RUN"

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:08PM (#46390979) Journal
    I couldn't believe this whole "Keurig" thing when I saw it, it creates all sorts of plastic waste and is expensive per cup, plus having to have an expensive and complex machine to use it and not as much control over what ends up in your coffee cup. If they want to shoot themselves in the foot by locking everyone else out of the process rather than allowing laziness to help proliferate their coffeemaking process, then I guess that's their decision and good riddance to them when they kill off their own market. Meanwhile, get a French Press, people, they even make little ones for single-cup coffee, and it's really not that difficult to use.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:11PM (#46391015)

    It always makes me chuckle when one of my self-anointed "green" friends whips up a cup of Keurig and then chucks the plastic container in the trash.

    Pot meet...

  • by jpellino (202698) on Monday March 03, 2014 @06:14PM (#46391065)

    I've found only one suitable pre-made Keurig pod for me, Dark Magic Decaf.
    Meanwhile, I still have opposable thumbs and can operate a french press or a Chemex or a porcelain cone or a Bialetti.
    Choose your level of messiness (none horrible), but get much better coffee at at least half the price.
    Yes, it can take up to ten minutes to get it, but there's something to be said for not making everything in life about pushing one button.
    I can do them all with any heat source, from electric main to the trusty SnowPeak.

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Monday March 03, 2014 @10:56PM (#46393483) Homepage

    It brews a cup of coffee. Exactly what functionality can they offer that changes that dramatically? The only thing I can think of is the ability to load several kinds of cups and have it programmatically select one. Remotely programming it... kind of pointless if I still have to walk down to get the mug, and if I've got the machine within reach to get the mug why do I need to program it remotely when I can just punch the Brew button? The only functionality I can think of they can add only benefits Keurig, and I'm not buying a brewer just for that.

    Warning, Keurig: I'm attached to coffee, not your particular brand of machine.

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