DRM Coffee vs the Internet of Things

Marcus Wohlsen covers the plans of Green Mountain Coffee to add DRM to the little plastic cups of ground coffee used in its Keurig-brand coffee machines,

More than just curbing your coffee choices, Green Mountain's protections portend the kind of closed system that could gut the early promise of the Internet of Things — a promise that hinges on a broad network of digital, connected devices remaking the everyday world.

He cites new research on interoperability and DRM's fundamental aversion to it; think of what happens when, say, hospitals turn into locked-in, single-vendor institutions. The underlying problem is simple: they're making disobedient computers.

There is a certain elegance to the Keurig idea, though: people who use K-Cups, being lazy and spendthrift, are an ideal target for a new DRM price-control wheeze. It's a bit like Ferrari's cheap and nasty resistive touchscreen implementation of iOS: their customers are rich suckers who would never know better, so why not screw them? The business psychology at hand is simple, short-term greed.