Coffee company Keurig Green Mountain offered something of a mea culpa on Wednesday night, when its CEO admitted that the company had been wrong to build its second-generation coffee makers with tech that prevented users from brewing their own coffee independent of Keurig’s licensing. Keurig Green Mountain stock is currently down 9 percent.
Last year, Keurig drew the ire of the Internet by incorporating a scheme similar to the Digital Rights Management (DRM) you see on e-books and video games into its Keurig 2.0 coffee maker. The next-generation machine forced users to brew with Keurig-approved coffee pods exclusively, using a digital scanner that looks for an ink marker on authorized K-cups. The company also discontinued its “My K-Cup” reusable pod, which meant that customers could no longer use their own coffee in a Keurig.
The response was swift, and people soon discovered that a simple piece of tape covering the scanner would override the “Oops!” message that off-brand coffee pod-buying scoundrels received from the machine. One family-owned coffee company, the Rogers Family Company, even produced its own “Freedom Clip” that did the same thing as the tape but with a saucier name. Jim Rogers, the Rogers Family Company vice president, told Ars in February, “We decided to offer the Freedom Clip for free, because we found Keurig’s attempt to lock out other coffees offensive. We thought it would be fun to give the giant, Keurig, a little poke.”
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