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.