Proprietary Coffee DRM? Seriously? Someone Obviously Came Up With That Before They Had Their Coffee


NOT proprietary.

So, today I came across an article on Wired about Keurig’s new coffeemakers. Apparently, Keurig has decided to take a shot at a long-standing corporate dream that never seems to end well: they have decided to make their coffee proprietary so that people who buy their K-cup brew gear can only use Keurig brand K-cups.

When companies do this, it usually ends up with them making a few extra bucks in the short term, and then people migrate to the next company that makes a non-proprietary version. I used to have a phone with a proprietary charger; it had a funny-looking connector that would only connect to their funny-looking socketed phones. The first time I had to buy a new charger and realized, I resolved to buy a different brand of phone with a standard connector, and I did. Right now I have an HP laptop; I didn’t do my homework and didn’t realize they have proprietary chargers and will refuse to take a charge from a non-HP charger.

As a result, my next laptop will be a brand other than HP. I don’t care if HP’s next laptop has a non-proprietary charger, or if they have such a laptop out right now. I had to replace my charger, and I had to buy an overpriced one from HP instead of a cheaper generic one. Well, they got my money once. In the future, they won’t get more. I expect to live a few more decades. The odds say I’ll replace my laptop multiple times over those years. So they got me once on a pricey charger and have established themselves in my mind as a company to avoid, so they won’t be selling me future computers.

Proprietary crap is a short-term business model. Looks like Keurig is drinking the short-term-thinking Koolaid (actually, Jonestown was Fla-R-Aid. There’s today’s trivia gem for you).

Frankly, I didn’t know about this thing with Keurig before because I don’t understand the whole K-cup thing. Okay, sure, it makes one cup at a time, your coffee is always aggressively fresh. Meh, I can pick up a 4-cup electric drip brewer for about 12 bucks that works on the same theory. Load it up halfway if you only want one cup of coffee, because, don’t kid yourselves, nobody drinks 6 ounce cups of coffee. It takes 12 ounces at least to lever your eyelids up if you’re a coffee-in-the-morning person like me. But I don’t even use a little drip coffee machine, because I have incredibly little counter space in my tiny home. I prepare meals in a space the size of the cover of a large coffee table book. Seriously.

I have a French press that fits on the kitchen windowsill, and one of the stovetop espresso makers pictured at the head of the article.

Neither of them use proprietary coffee, and this ridiculous short-term stupidity of Keurig’s has now tainted them in my mind and I’m unlikely to ever buy one of their machines even if they come to their senses later.

Those are the wages of short-term thinking. Heed ye well.


(By the way, if you do use the K-cup things in a non-proprietary brewer, bear in mind that you can buy reusable K-cups that you load yourself with cheaper bulk coffee. Plus you avoid adding to the Niagra of unrecyclable plastic mini-cups flooding the country’s landfills right now. Any country, really. More so if you’re in Europe, you guys use even more of these silly things than we in the USA do.)


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