Keurig CEO blames disastrous financials on DRM



“We were wrong.”

You don’t hear that very often.


Being an autodrip- or French-press-kinda gal, I’d like to know why people like K-cup coffee. I’ve had it, and it just didn’t have the punch that auto-dripped or French-pressed coffee does.

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There are several reasons I’ve resisted buying a Keurig machine, but this makes me want to get one just to reward this level of honesty and willingness to understand the customers’ position.

I still love my old coffee machine, and it’s unlikely I’m going to need to replace it for a very long time, but maybe in the meantime I can buy some Keurig stock.


Keurig Chief Financial Officer Fran Rathke said that shipments of pods by volume were below the company’s expectations due to a “somewhat higher than expected consumer price elasticity at retail.”

Apparently that’s how an MBA says “Customers didn’t react well to higher prices”.

Unfortunately, this appears to be a ‘we were wrong’ of the ‘to think that we could get away with it’ flavor, rather than the ‘to have tried’ flavor; so the plan is to ‘bring more brands into the ecosystem’ rather than drop the stupid plan.

(The other reason that I’m generally unwilling to give them the benefit of the doubt is that the earnings call included the dreadful spew below from the president and CEO:

“Some of this was due to consumer confusion around pod compatibility
which we’ve mentioned in the past. Although we are seeing improvement as
we transition more formally unlicensed brands into our manufacturing

It is basically never good when ‘consumer confusion’ gets blamed. At best, customers are confused because your marketing and/or directions aren’t sufficiently clear or your product is excessively hard to use. At worst, it’s a cloyingly patronizing ‘the little people just don’t like our fucking with them because they don’t understand the benefits that fuckery will bring, not because it’s overtly contrary to their interests or anything’. In this case, I’m going with the latter, since ‘pod compatibility’ was deliberately made confusing and uncertain by adding the DRM system.)


Wouldn’t it be great if part of the reason their sales went down was because people felt guilty of all the unnecessary landfill created by these things?

Or that people realized that using heated soft plastic as a coffee filter can’t possibly be good for you?


It’s handy at work if you want exactly one cup of coffee and don’t want to screw around with methods that take more than 20 seconds. That’s pretty much the entire reason the things exist.

Anyway, I expect part of Keurig’s trouble is DRM, but a larger part is the increasingly (and desrvedly) bad publicity surrounding the expense and wastefulness of it all compared to every other coffee method.


" He also plans to launch a cold-brew coffee-brewing machine."

I’m imagining a big plastic jug, pre-filled with K-water containing the proprietary solvent that will dissolve the K-cold coffee pods.

Me, I use my existing machine. I just don’t plug it in.


I’ve had the same one for 35 years [mine not pictured], it takes licking and keeps on ticking!


But it’s better than instant coffee? Which is admittedly not so great.

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Consumers have a poor ability to read sincerity.


Not only do these pod machines make terrible coffee but they are horrible for the environment. I for one would not shed a tear if Kurig (and nesspresso, and whoever else) went out of business. Grind your own beans!


I’m still not sure this even counts as DRM. We need a new word for it.

Or maybe we don’t - I thought the Lexmark case invalidated this exact practise?

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Do you have a recommendation? I loved my old Braun and it died. The new Brauns aren’t any good.

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Yup, much better than instant. Not that that’s saying much.

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Corporations are responsible to the share holders, not the consumers. I agree it is nice they didnt blame the consumer and their non decision making employees this time, but I dont think this was a shift in perception either. If the stock prices rebound, the customer complaints will go right back to the deleted folder.


Convenience. That’s it, really. The coffee’s nowhere near as good as French press, drip, or pour-over, but having a rack of a half-dozen different kinds of coffee (dark, light, flavored, decaf) to just grab, brew, and have a single cup in thirty seconds outweighs the quality difference a lot of the time.

I don’t own one, but when we had one in our office, it was terrific. Everyone could have the kind of coffee they wanted, there was no cleanup, nobody on “coffee pot duty”.


Go to a thrift store. Many of them will let you actually plug appliances in to see if they work, and old coffeemakers are “hip” now.


I wish I did. The one I’ve got is about twenty five years old, and I can’t even remember the brand name. I think the key to its longevity is simplicity. Water goes in, gets heated, and filters through the ground coffee. Not fancy, but it does the trick.

It’s even simpler than my parents’ old percolator, although I miss the percolator’s noise: blblblblb-shhh-hmhmhmhm.


Cause I really like coffee but can’t drink more than 2 or so cups without caffeine issues I have a jar of instant decaf at work as the only other choice is kcups which on the whole are not that much better at 10 times the cost of the instant coffee. It definitely isn’t all that much better than the drip machine which is still way cheaper as well.