Keurig, those coffee-pod people, have somehow created a market full of people who are willing to pay $60 for a pound of coffee. But that's not enough for Keurig: Now they're working on some sort of a digital rights management scheme involving coffee makers that would only use Keurig-branded coffee pods. Karl Bode at Techdirt writes:
In a lawsuit filed against Keurig by TreeHouse Foods, they claim Keurig has been busy striking exclusionary agreements with suppliers and distributors to lock competing products out of the market. What's more, TreeHouse points out that Keurig is now developing a new version of their coffee maker that will incorporate the java-bean equivalent of DRM — so that only Keurig's own coffee pods can be used in it:
"Green Mountain has announced a new anticompetitive plan to maintain its monopoly by redesigning its brewers to lock out competitors’ products. Such lock-out technology cannot be justified based on any purported consumer benefit, and Green Mountain itself has admitted that the lock-out technology is not essential for the new brewers’ function. Like its exclusionary agreements, this lock-out technology is intended to serve anticompetitive and unlawful ends."
The plan was confirmed by Keurig's CEO who stated on a recent earnings call that the new maker indeed won't work with "unlicensed" pods as part of an effort to deliver "game-changing performance."
Someone reading this post should write a sci-fi story about a mega-corporation that creates 3D-printed kidneys for transplant. The catch is that the kidneys can only tolerate drinks made with a special, licensed brand of water. You'll be considered a visionary genius when the story comes true in thirty years.