Keurig’s Coffee DRM Already Cracked By Competitors

Earlier this year, we wrote about Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, maker
of the infamous Keurig single cup coffee makers, and its plan to DRM its next generation coffee pods. The original pods were going off patent, and competition
was rising. So, of course, the solution is to come up with something
new… and lock it down to make it less useful for consumers. When that
story went viral, Team Keurig tried to spin the story,
claiming the DRM would provide “interactive-enabled benefits” and would
improve users’ safety. Of course, when the system finally started
showing up a couple months ago, people quickly realized it had nothing to do with safety, and the “interactive-enabled benefits” seemed to consist
mainly of being able to recognize a carafe-sized pod from a single
cup-sized pod. Oh yeah, and to block out competing pods so that Keurig
pods can be priced artificially high. Interactive! Enabled! Benefits!

Except… as RomanOnARiver alerts us, it appears that Keurig competitors have already figured out ways to crack the DRM. TreeHouse Foods very quickly announced that it would be able to break the DRM. Meanwhile, Mother Parkers’ RealCup has just announced that its pods are compatible with Keurig’s DRM. It’s a little unclear from the press release if Mothers Parkers cracked the DRM or
came to a deal with Green Mountain, though it sure sounds like it was
internal work:

“We are very pleased that our focus on innovation, quality, and freedom
of choice has led to new technology that will produce authentic tasting
coffee and tea products in all K-Cup type single-serve brewers, both old
and new styles,” said Bill VandenBygaart, Vice President of Business
Development for Mother Parkers. “Standard size capsule brews, as well as
larger carafe and multi-serve formats, will soon be available for
independent brands of single-serve capsules. Consumers will be the
ultimate winners by having the best tasting coffees and teas available.”

TreeHouse had already sued Green Mountain over the new DRM, but the
bigger question is if Green Mountain would try to stop anyone from
reverse engineering and cracking the new DRM. That would present an interesting legal fight…

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