K-Cup Coffee Cartel

There are many reasons to hate those K-Cup coffee machines. First, the machines are expensive. Second, the refills are expensive, and thus, the coffee it makes is also expensive. And for the elevated expense, you get coffee that tastes like crap krap.

One way to make being locked in to the K-Cup system more palatable is to use third-party refills that cost significantly less than those sold by Green Mountain.

But according to Techdirt, Keurig is aggressively combating the spread of cheaper refills.

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.

The Keurig CEO has confirmed the new DRM-locked machine. He also called it a “game changer” presumably because instead of “giving away” the coffeemaker and charging for the refills, as you do in the established “razor-and-blades” model, Keurig intends to profit from the coffeemaker and the refills. This is how in bad CEO parlance, the “game” has been changed.

Of course, you can save yourself a ton of money and get better coffee at home with any number of coffee makers, like a Chemex or an Aeropress that don’t have DRM or even require electricity.

That’s truly game changing!

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