I never fail to be amazed at the ridiculous levels a company will go to in order to monopolize a market. Mostly it involves high tech stuff, Computers, TV’s and Cell Phones. The clarion call from the industry is that this is to protect the consumer. It does not take much thought power to realize the reason. Selling a locked down product limits what the user can do with it. Add on’s can be only installed from the company store.
Apple are probably the ‘guiding light’ in this nasty process, but there are a number of other companies that are just as guilty.
It seems like the battle for customers has reached a new low. Computer Printer makers got slightly grumpy over the concept of people refilling ink cartridges rather than buying new ones. The answer by the printer manufacturers was to lower the quality of the Ink Cartridges and so make them unusable for a refill. It has reached the stage that it is cheaper to buy a new printer than buy refills for it.
Keurig Coffee seem to be headed in the same direction. I love the concept of a coffee maker that you can insert a single ‘do hickey’ in the top and from the bottom you will get a great fresh cup of java.
Obviously Keurig Coffee found some companies that wanted to key in on the business, just like printer makers, the key is not in the hardware, it is the consumables. In some ways this is easy to do when dealing with Computers and Cell Phones. Locking down a coffee maker makes seems an improbability, but not so. Keurig apparently are toying with the idea of incorporating a type of DRM (Digital Rights Management) system into their coffee makers. You can think of this as a kind of automated password system. If the ‘pod’ inserted is not a genuine Keurig pod, no java for you!
You can read all about it here.