Keurig CEO Blames Coffee Pod DRM For Falling Sales

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In what amounts to a win for the anti-DRM crowd, Keurig CEO Brian Kelley said the 23% drop in sales came from his move to prevent coffee lovers from using unofficial K-Cups in its 2.0 machines. After the company’s patent on the K-Cup expired, the company added a lock to its new machines to prevent the use of refillable cups and cups from outside manufacturers. Users also filed a lawsuit after the company introduced the new cups.

The share price also dropped 25% since the beginning of 2015.

The new 2.0 machines required a specially coded coffee pod, thereby locking competitors out of the coffee pod game. One pod maker, the Rogers Family Company, fought back by offering a free plastic clip that simply convinced the machine that it was perpetually using the correct pods.

Although the way forward for 2.0 users isn’t yet clear, the company is reintroducing the My K-Cup device which allows users to put their own coffee into a reusable pod. “Quite honestly, we were wrong. We underestimated the passion the consumer had for this,” said Kelley in an analyst call regarding the cup. They are also hard at work at a presumably non-DRMed cold brewing solution.