Hacker News Re-Imagined

New emails released in the McDonald’s ice cream machine lawsuit

  • 250 points
  • 7 days ago

  • @notacoward
  • Created a post
  • • 138 comments

New emails released in the McDonald’s ice cream machine lawsuit


@pigbearpig 6 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

First off, Taylor probably is happy with having machines that need service and who knows why McDonald's wants broken machines.

I see nothing wrong with Taylor wanting to improve their own remote monitoring UX. That's just how competition works. Kytch make a good app, and what is Taylor supposed to do, not improve theirs? That part of Kytch's argument is bull. Kytch can MITM and reverse engineer Taylor's machines, but then they don't like it when Taylor does it back to them? Seems like a pretty weak argument. Both companies just need to focus on engineering a better product.

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@donenas 6 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

The issue is that Mcdonald's is forcing owners to use this broken machine.

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@rbrbr 6 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

The blank shallow face of corporate corruption.

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@PeterisP 6 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

I don't see any basis why the complaint is interesting - there's assertion that the ice cream machine manufacturer is copying features of the competitor's device, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do and, in the absence of patent protection (the word "patent" is not mentioned in the article) absolutely permissible; and there's some assertion of "stealing trade secrets" without asserting any actual compromise of a secret by someone entrusted to keep it, but rather an act which looks like reverse engineering a product (which, again, does not require a permission for physical devices not covered by patents or copyright; trade secret law explicitly states that reverse engineering is a lawful way of acquiring trade secrets) and its documentation, which should be considered a very reasonable thing to do for anyone with a hacker mentality. Trade secret applies only to things that you actually keep secret, all the things you sell or give to your customers aren't trade secrets any more.

"There was a concerted effort to not only obtain and copy our device and follow everything we were doing, but then also, when it hit a critical mass, to actually put us out of business," - that's pretty much textbook definition of market competition, not an indication of anything shady.

"Kytch argued in its initial legal complaint that the company didn't truly copy Kytch's device to try to fix McDonald's ice cream machines, but simply to have a competing product it could tout to McDonald's—and McDonald's franchisees—in order to prevent Kytch from fixing those machines." - again, it's perfectly legitimate to try and make a competing product to tout to McDonalds; unless they're violating a specific patent, it's their right to do so; more competition is a good thing to have.

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@DonHopkins 6 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

McDonalds should have Apple design uncrackable DRM that locks franchise owners into their walled garden, and call them iScream machines.

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@SLWW 6 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙



@shum1 6 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

Relevant link for those who want more context on the constantly broken McDonald icecream machine situation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrDEtSlqJC4

I don't think the WIRED article isn't really doing justice to what Kytch is trying to show. The important argument is whether or not McDonald and Taylor conspired to prevent Kytch from selling / franchisees from purchasing this equipment, essentially a 'right to repair' argument.

If Kytch wins, there could be ramifications for the tractor debate in the agricultural world as well.

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@darepublic 6 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

Go plaintiffs, go plaintiffs

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@black_13 7 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

God if you only cared as much for the ppl that worked at McDonalds

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@wly_cdgr 7 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

Free market machine broke

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@14 7 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

The wired article was extremely short not sure if I’m just not getting the full article? It seems from my perspective that Taylor and McDonald’s conspired to take money from the franchise owners. What a shame. Because all it does is incentives owners to cut corners like say serve cold fries so they don’t lose money. McDonald’s used to be great but somewhere lost the way. They used to be the affordable place anyone could afford a couple burgers and fries for their family and it used to be quite enjoyable.

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@blinding-streak 6 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

Loose analogy that came to mind here as I read this article:

McDonald's + Taylor: 1990s Wintel alliance

Kytch: 1990s AMD (plucky underdog)

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@siva7 6 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

The reason why McD tastes the same everywhere in the world is because of strict protocols like this. Ever wondered why Domino’s tastes very different depending on the country? I prefer predictability in quality and that is one thing that McD gets right

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@shadowgovt 6 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

The meta-lesson here is that if you plan to go into the business of providing service for an existing tech ecosystem, be prepared in your future for a fight like this.

Companies with small, insular lock-in arrangements don't cede territory willingly. Be it squeezing in on the dominant grocery in a small town, the used car dealers in a county, or the inkjet printer ink cartridge supply chain, find a damn good lawyer who's excited for a fight early in your company's life.

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@abdel_nasser 7 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

how disgusting. it makes me think that vertical integration is great for countries where the losing party of a lawsuit doesnt face any form of disincentive like paying the legal expenses of the winning party. if you are a company that tries to sell a product like this ice-cream mod then you will be sued but its better to have your own burger joint and fill it with your own inventions. they say that the company was brought to brink of insolvency so i think they probably would have been better being a vertically integrated burger joint.

thats so cool to read about the innovations of their machine. text message alerts, ingredient monitoring in the hopper -- there is so much meat on the bone in so many markets.

i sometimes think of what a better mcdonalds would look like. i imagine it would have equipment like this ice-cream machine that is highly automated and designed for very low maintenance. so one area of arbitrage is reducing staff count and burden with the machinery. then another aspect is getting rid of indoor seating. even before the pandemic i always noticed that the drive-through always seemed to get more traffic than the inside. i think you could just get rid of the inside and do a scaled-up version of the parking-lot delivery that mcdonalds has started doing recently. a medium sized parking lot with a large amount of numbered spaces, and some of the area could be used as a buffer for people to wait for open spaces. and a walk-up window for people who dont have a smart phone or are on foot. and this plays into the largest source of employee friction in my opinion. imagine you work at mcdonalds, you are face to face with random strangers all day. not only is it embarrassing to show your face and be recognized as a person who works at mcdonalds, its stressful dealing with people who are rude and sometimes crazy. i think if you could cut out this aspect of working at mcdonalds that it would be a much more attractive job and you would have much higher employee quality and retention which matter a lot. and one way you might do this is to have a very simple robot deliver the food. the active parking spots could all be on the outer edge of the parking lot and wrapping around the edge could be a track with protrusions between each parking space. it would be covered for rain and snow and surrounded by standard railings so that nobody would wander into the track, no cars could intrude into the track and nobody could interfere with the robot easily since it would be quite heavy. the robot would be a large box about the height of a car door window with a large battery and four large wheels and a camera and a radio. the robot would travel between the building and cars, having multiple food orders put on top of its head and then positioned directly in front of the driver window. it would be simple to drive, impossible to drive into a place it wasnt supposed to be, and driven on shifts, perhaps as a break from the more laborious jobs or by other people remotely. and the nice thing is that if the backup robots all failed or there is some problem, the workers could just use the track to deliver orders by hand like dairy queen. a high tech fast food company with delicious food, an app that works, fast and efficient user experience and a massive improvement in employee satisfaction.

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@djyaz1200 7 days

Replying to @notacoward 🎙

In my naivety I build a startup that fixed a problem for a fortune 500 company thinking they would be delighted. They weren't. These big companies are staffed by individuals who are focused on their career and will do absolutely anything to extinguish your company/idea and pretend it was their idea and champion the company's initiative. It's disgusting but it's reality and if you are a founder be ready for it.

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