Peloton seems to be taking a page out of the video game DRM handbook. Just because you buy a treadmill and pay 4295 dollars for it doesn’t mean you can automatically use it.
Peloton has come up with an interesting solution to its treadmill safety issues, which have been connected to a child’s death: Force owners of its $4,295 Tread+ to either return the machine for a refund or pay a $39 monthly membership fee to use it at all. Users are outraged, and some have even compared Peloton’s demand to ransomware. It’s a reminder that when you buy or use a product whose access is controlled by someone else, that access can always be taken away from you. As more and more of the things we buy are connected to the internet, living and dying by manufacturer-pushed software updates and on platforms that can be shuttered at any time, we have less and less control over them. Even if we pay a considerable amount of money for those devices, we may never fully own them.