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Thursday, December 2, 2021

McDonald’s ice cream machine hacker legend takes a new turn

Six months ago, A small start-up company called Kytch sued Taylor, McDonald’s notorious manufacturer of bad ice cream machines, worth billions of dollars. For many years, Kytch has been selling a small device that can hack these ice cream machines, allowing McDonald’s restaurant owners to better diagnose their diseases and make them work more reliably-it turns out that, according to Kytch’s legal proceedings, Taylor conspired to copy its equipment and conduct business that disrupted it.

Now, Kytch’s lawsuit reveals another side of the story: Taylor’s own internal communication. The recently released court documents seem to indicate that Taylor’s executives did indeed see Kytch as a business threat, and worked hard to replicate the functionality of its equipment into competing products—but it still failed to really cure McDonald’s ice cream headache.

During the discovery phase of Kytch’s lawsuit filed in May, Taylor was forced to publicly submit more than 800 pages of internal emails and presentations, which mentioned its handling of Kytch. They showed how, contrary to Taylor’s previous statement to WIRED, the company carefully checked and tried to imitate specific Kytch features. The email also revealed that at some point, McDonald’s, not Taylor, took the lead in preventing restaurants from adopting Kytch’s gadgets.

Kytch co-founder Melissa Nelson (Melissa Nelson) said: “We work together to not only acquire and copy our equipment and track everything we do, but when it reaches a tipping point, we will actually go bankrupt. “

Starting in 2019, Kytch has tried to manufacture and sell a device that can intercept data on the Taylor C602 ice cream machine used by McDonald’s franchisees, but it is still in progress.According to data collected by the ice cream machine tracking service, about 10% of McDonald’s restaurants have ice cream machine failures McBrocken, McDonald’s franchisees told Wired that better diagnosis can lead to faster repairs. (Machine failure rates are generally higher in certain regions: McBroken, for example, found that McDonald’s ice cream machines in New York City had 20% to 40% failures in the past week.) Wall Street Journal Report In September, even the Federal Trade Commission recently asked McDonald’s franchisees about the frequent failure of ice cream machines.

McDonald’s sent a memo to all franchisees in the fall of 2020, warning them not to use the device in response to Kytch’s growing sales, saying it constitutes a personal safety risk, invalidating the warranty on Taylor’s machines, and visiting it. Proprietary data”. “The memo recommends upgrading to a new type of networked device called Taylor Shake Sundae Connectivity. Even now, this next-generation machine has entered the market without limited testing. Kytch described McDonald’s information as “defamatory.” Alleged that it disrupted the business and prevented franchisees from repairing their constantly malfunctioning ice cream machines.

In response, Kytch sued Taylor in May, along with a Taylor distributor named TFG and a McDonald’s franchisee named Tyler Gamble, who allegedly allowed Taylor and TFG to use Kytch equipment. The lawsuit alleges that Gamble violated Kytch’s contract by doing so and Taylor misappropriated its trade secrets. Kytch’s co-founders told WIRED last spring that they believed Taylor had hired a private investigative company to try to secretly purchase Kytch equipment to analyze and replicate it.

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