the pod wars

Competitor Says It’ll Hack Keurig’s Coffee Pod Verification System ‘in Months’

The best part of waking up is not this.

The best part of waking up is not this.Photo: Keurig

It's been widely assumed that Keurig's forthcoming, deluxe DRM pod verification, its camera-equipped answer to the K-Cup knockoffs now leeching 14 percent of the $3 billion annual single-serve market, spells trouble for competitors who deal in cheaper per-pod prices. But maybe that's because nobody asked the competitors. Yes, several are suing for monopolizing the market, but at least one — TreeHouse Foods, the biggest third-party manufacturer — believes that "under any circumstance," hacking Keurig's "advanced" new machines will only take "a matter of months," hardly what you'd call a formidable obstacle.

Even if it's longer, consumers probably ought to go ahead and steel themselves for a printer-ink-fights meets cola-wars-of-the-eighties scenario. Nespresso may be playing nice for the moment, having agreed, at least in Europe, to open-source its pods, but there probably isn't a foolproof way to keep cheap alternatives out of the market. The shift toward squabbling over tech issues means the battle's only getting a-brewin' and increases the chances that cup quality — whatever there is of it, anyway — may be the first casualty.

Keurig's New Machine Won't Stop K-Cup Piracy [Quartz]

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