Digital Rights Management (DRM) is something that’s used in the music, publishing and movie industry all the time. Essentially, DRM makes it impossible to play a song or a movie on an unapproved device – you can’t, for example, read an eBook purchased from Amazon on a device that hasn’t been approved by Amazon.
Or, another example, you can’t play a purchased DVD on a portable movie player. DRM means that a company has clamped down on their rights, and they are now telling you where you can and can’t use their content.
This is a pretty common thing to do in the content world, but it’s never been done before when it comes to coffee. Keurig Green Mountain will be the first coffee company ever to use DRM technology to make it impossible for impostor “K-Cups” to be sold and used on the new Keurig machine. To some, this is downright greedy. To others, it’s a right that Keurig should exercise.
Keurig Goes High Tech
If you think back a few years to the latest technological advancements in coffee, what do you think of? Maybe you can conjure up some images of a local third-wave coffee shop (or ten), but you’re probably landing on an image of a pod coffee machine. Pod coffee machines allow users to purchase “pods” to use in a specific type of machine, and those machines originated with Keurig.
Since Keurig machines are still preferred over others, Keurig had a happy monopoly on selling brand-approved pods for its machines – all of that was well and good until the Keurig “K-cup” patent expired in September of 2012, and competing coffee companies created the same pods for Keurig machines without Keurig’s approval.
Now, Keurig has a new and better machine – but this one use DRM technology. So, any coffee pod not approved by Keurig simply won’t work with your new Keurig machine. You can try to purchase all the discount K-cups you want, but you’ll have to use a different machine if you want to drink cheaper pod coffee.
The technology scans all Keurig approved pods for a specific stamp, and won’t let users use coffee from any other company. That puts an end to all those imposter pods, but some coffee drinkers may just buy a different machine. As it stands, Keurig is going to have to create a really great new machine for people to buy the machine and the Keurig pods that go with it. Otherwise, Keurig will lose out on both, and this company relies on selling cheap machines and expensive pods.
It’s not every day that a company outside of the larger tech world uses technology like DRM to better a product or secure revenue, so it’s kind of big news that Keurig is making this move. In the future, you won’t be able to buy imposter K-cups if you want to buy a Keurig machine. The question now is: would you just be better off buying a more expensive machine and cheaper pods? Maybe!