Sep 14, 20176041 views

Halo Switches, Massdrop, and I:C

Edit: Since this post keeps getting likes, I can only assume people are still learning about this for the first time. In the spirit of "more info is better ", I want to link to an article on Tom's Hardware that explores both sides.,35468.html
I just recieved the latest update from Input Club concerning the Whitefox Kickstarter. They are alleging that MassDrop is essentially trying to steal there design for Halo Switches.
"We also have encountered some unexpected push-back from one of our former partners, Massdrop, on the topic of the Halo switches. We (Input Club) developed and invented the Halo switches, and worked with Massdrop to finance the physical tooling that allows them to go to mass production. We assigned Massdrop the patent rights in exchange for a royalty and a “license-back” that we believe allows us to source the switches for use in keyboards. But when we tried to order switches for the WhiteFox/NightFox, Massdrop would not let us source them. They then claimed to own the “Halo” name and asked us to give up the license-back altogether, so we would essentially lose all access to our own invention. This is very confusing for us at Input Club, as we are mostly a team of engineers and are not used to dealing with people who act in this manner. Unfortunately, we don’t have any more information right now as to how the situation will unfold."
I for one would like a response from Massdrop. Input Club has done a lot for this hobby and, in my opinion are a great group of guys. Anyone else feel the same or differently. Am I missing some nuance?
FredtheFailLord, TragestyX, and 88 others

Stop being a bully, Massdrop.
Honor your commitments. When you snub I:C you snub the keyboard community writ large. I guarantee this will hurt you much more long-term than whatever you think you stand to lose by allowing I:C to source the Halo switches, in accordance with the contract.
Stop treating IC as a child. They are a multimillion dollar business, but you clearly dont think theyre able to handle themselves.
IC is a bunch of cowards and pathetic to post on forums. Maybe you should stop buying from MD and go buy from IC instead. Oh wait, you wont do that.
Whining people like you are so annoying....
lol he mad
I don't disagree with Input Club making this public at all. How could a small team of engineers ever compete legally with a massive company like Massdrop? I think bringing this to public light was the smartest thing they could've done. People deserve to know what's going on, especially people who went in on the Whitefox drop on Kickstarter who will probably have delays.
From the part of the contract that was released by Input Club it seems that Massdrop is in the wrong. To me, and I am no legal expert, it seems to say they can sell their own invention as long as they don't go to another large distributor, ie Amazon. Massdrop is starting to get a very bad rep with the community. Although because of the exclusivity of some of the enthusiast products on here, many people still buy from Massdrop out of necessity. Honestly, I've bought DOZENS of orders through Massdrop, and I don't think I've ever had even 1 without delays of at least 2 weeks, more often a month at the least. This whole IC dilemma is just a show of the true face of MD.
I think once upon a time MD was a company that really worked hard to bring products to the public that wouldn't be accessible otherwise, but it has turned into a corporate greed machine. If it wasn't, and it was honestly just trying to help small designers get their products out there, then it would have no problem with IC selling it's own design. This whole "shark club" analogy is stupid too, people on that show more often than not still own 50% of the rights to their product if not majority rights. Funding a product doesn't mean you own it in it's entirety, even if that is the norm it is not right. The fact that Massdrop sells itself on "community" especially makes this a giant sad joke.
The saddest part of this whole thing is, is that even if MD is in the wrong we'll never find out. A massive company like MD has the money to fight this until they can bleed IC dry. IC will probably have to concede their own design or risk being thwarted entirely by MD. At this point I'm truly considering never buying off MD ever again, no matter how much I want some enthusiast keyboard or keycaps set. I'll have to wait to get it 2nd hand or somewhere else just so I don't support this monstrous company. I suggest other people do the same, that way maybe Massdrop will start giving a f**k about their community again and get things right and on time. Also please again don't give the excuse "oh these drops take time to get perfect, there are always delays", if MD knows a manufacturer they've used dozens of times is always a week late, put the goddamn ship date later then to account for that. Nobody is going to cry about getting their orders sooner than the shipdate if there are no delays. You're telling me a multi million dollar operation can't figure this out? Please.
this situation has gotten stupid with the community people need to chill out! What massdrop is saying is legit which I can't see it not being since if it wasn't legit! Then you know if IC took them to court there lawyer I am sure would have a field day with a public release that was non factual. ((not a lawyer))
We can obviously say that IC dropped the ball screwed up and its on there heads. It makes since why in the world would a company agree to spend 10's of thousands of dollars for a concept! cause thats what it was a concept.. if they couldn't control it? IC had no ability to produce these switches on there own.. so there only choices where to go find a company willing to back them financially which they did. What I know of business there not a single one in the universe that would have said. We will produce your concept and give you full rights to it. No once a company buy's in there most the time going to own the rights to the product! Every watched shark tank? Thats basically what this was. IC pitched a idea... Massdrop said sure but we want controlling stake in it. IC agreed cause otherwise there concept was just that a concept on a piece of paper.
Massdrop did what any company would do to think otherwise is silly! This has just gone out of control and just shows how bad social media is for society.
this is kinda funny
to me it looks like input club misunderstod stuff. ITS ALL JUST A MISUNDERSTANDING XD.
The Kickstarter update is here
There's this section after the part ApathyMonk posted above...
"Fortunately, we work very closely with our factory and suppliers and were able to discuss the best path forward. Many words were shared, but essentially the discussion concluded with us needing to develop a brand new switch in order to meet our commitments on the WhiteFox keyboard. This process will take approximately 5 weeks to get ready for production, and within that timeline we can still plan on fulfilling in December 2017 (though it may be late December!). These switches will still be 100% Cherry MX compatible and designed by us, but will be visually different from the older switches pictured below.
To summarize: Everyone in the campaign that chose Halo Switches will be getting a superior product without having to contribute more money, and while it is going to cost us quite a bit extra to produce, we’re optimistic it won’t increase the timeline."

So Input Club are having to develop a brand new switch... which suggests that Massdrop are legally in the right?
It's also unclear how their new switch will be a superior product?
Just because they have to develop a new switch doesn't mean Massdrop are legally in the right. They have to develop a new switch because a) Haata was likely tinkering with things he learned designing Halo, and b) they have a deadline to promise and any legal arguments would not allow them to meet deadline.
Basically...IC assumed they had a deal in which Massdrop would supply them the switch to sell as part of other products, and Massdrop assumes the switch can only be supplied in two ways: replacement or separate from other products.
Only way this gets resolved is in court, so to meet deadline, Haata gets to ramp up production on Better Halo, or whatever name they end up with.
There's no way Massdrop comes out of this looking like an innocent party, sounds like they will try to take your IP if you become successful, scaring away small time designers.
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Did I personally get money before a drop? Never. In my experience I get paid only after the drop was 100% wrapped up, shipped, and in the hands of folks. Honestly, I'd not want it any other way. And finances are a huge reason I like going through MD and not running buys on my own, because as an individual they are a nightmare to handle for a group buy.
Because this is a community group buy, I think InputClub is right to bring this discussion to a public forum. This is a joint purchase that is being made as a community. People who put forward their own money to help this be successful have the right to know what's going on and if they are getting what they payed for.
To those who didn't see it: Massdrop have replied here
Might be worth a read of both sides before getting pitchforks out.
This is unacceptable. If this isn't resolved applicably then I will be canceling my K-Type and my Oblivion keycaps. This is beyond shady and greedy. I don't care if it's within their legal rights to do this because it's a shitty practice. Respond ASAP Massdrop or you'll be losing a lot of money and many customers.
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And according to Input Club's official statement on their website they were acting within their legal rights according to their agreement with Massdrop, or so the cited portion implies. I'm certainly no legal expert nor have I seen the entirety of the contract which could change things depending on the terms, I'm assuming at least. Either way it's been a shit storm, I think everyone can agree on that.
Yeah, agreed. This never should have been brought to the community. It will end up doing the community no good, it will only hurt both parties involved, and further divide the community. And that is sad, especially since it could have been avoided and solved in private.
And I'm no legal expert either. Common sense assumptions based on standard business practices would lean to pointing that MD is in the right here is all I'm really getting at.
Okay Massdrop, what a good PR strategy. Oh well, it's not like this is going to harm MD's reputation... because it can't get any worse than it is now.
I really hope Massdrop didn't do something like this. Would be a really bad business move. Is it ok to steal intellectual property now a days? This is the wrong direction for innovation and the community if this is true.
Maybe read Massdrop's update first before you get the pitchforks out.
Cancelled my Oblivion order because of this. I bought Whitefox twice on MD, as well as the K-Type. I did not buy into the IC whitefox kickstarter, but this has left a sour taste in my mouth.
This is disheartening to hear. I too would like to see an official statement from Massdrop regarding this situation.
I can't imagine that Input Club would have signed away their right to source the Halo switches separately and that "Only able to source Halo switches with Massdrop's permission..." would have come up when creating the terms of the contract. If more details come out we may be able to determine if the letter of the agreement was contrary to the spirit in which it was entered.
I'm worried about the MT3 profile, OLKB's distribution and Massdrop's relationships with product creators in the going forward. Just remember it is us, the consumer, that concentrates monetary power in the hands of corporate entities like Massdrop. We can choose to not do so.
This seems a lot like burning someone at the stake before hearing both sides. This was posted, and apparently done before even a hearing. Massdrop can't move as well as a group like input club can as far as posting. Legal ramifications, and what can be said and not on the situation must be considered. And there is also the anti-massdrop group that would love to see support for MD cancel, so they stoke up the flames of the pitchfork carrying villagers.
So, without knowing the specifics, people rush to pillory them. There is an agreement in place- an agreement that I:C signed. They say that "we believe allows us to source the switches for use in keyboards." That's the kind of thing that you get lawyers to put in place an ironclad agreement, and that you know exactly what your rights are. A patent is valuable, and not something you fly by night on nor think nor believe anything about.
Unfortunately, I think there's a lot we'll never know. But I for one, am waiting for Massdrop's response before deciding based on the evidence that is available at that time.
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Thanks I will have to check them out I am curious and glad there no hard feelings ^_^ cause our opinions don't align that to me is what make a community great we can debate and agree not to agree and be civil and friendly towards each other and have a good time! "Cheers"
As long as MD has capability to generate volume far higher than alternative platforms (in GMK keycap set it's like 5:1), it will have no shortage of creators who are willing to negotiate over their rights. MD depends on the community, but it's got plenty of room to push its own interest before there is any real pushback. Most community members interests are limited to getting their favorite design made and not getting scammed. This is going to get only worse since MD has a lot of market power and it's not shy about throwing its weight around. This is business as usual.
Fuck Massdrop. I am done with these worthless pieces of shit!
Not cool, MD.
Input Club has done a great deal for this community, it would be a shame if they actually get screwed over. (Especially over the Halo switches, those are supposedly very nice)
I've been here, and purchased several hundred dollars worth of keysets, knives, and camera accessories, with the openness to buy a lot more in the future. I was almost ready to jump on the Oblivion drop, as well as the Preonic. I'm definitely going to be waiting now, until I hear of a nice conclusion for this matter. If it doesn't end well, I won't be sharing any of Massdrop's stuff on social media anymore, and also instead of recommending it to friends, I'll encourage them to go elsewhere.
The MK community has brought MD a very significant amount of money, without a doubt. The Input Club alone, with the Ergodox and other inventions on here really made this a successful endeavor for MD, and attacking them in this way is just plain pathetic.
Is it too late for me to cancel my Godspeed order? I'd imagine it's too late for cancelling Nautilus, but if MD doesn't speak up and do the right thing, I'll be doing what I can to cancel. I'm sure MD will get some nice, serious competition, as now GB vendors will be in demand. I feel bad for Mito, Oblotzky, OLKB and other awesome community members who will lose out on customers this way, but this is bad business, and I hope they are able to rally to help IC and prevent this from happening to them in the near future.
Assuming things are as they now appear to be: Shame on you, Massdrop. Shame on you.
Someone who likely would have spent a lot more money here.
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I can't help but feel like you have this slightly backwards.
The keyboard community wasn't always a "big hit" for Massdrop, or even one of the biggest communities. We were a huge risk. Years ago there were only small individuals/groups running group buys and PMK had a few group buys in their store. The community was FAR smaller than it is now. For example, 1976 originally ran on the PMK store and barely hit the 100 buyers needed to be produced. My set Jukebox was the first SA set to ever run on MD, and it was just under 250 total kits sold (base kit+all over kits. It was a small buy!). MD really helped provide an option for the community to run buys through that had more accountability and was safer than some community buys, that had/have always had issues here and there. MD fronted the risk of the buy and provided a very safe platform to buy from (getting a refund from MD is not hard if there are issues, they often provide refunds when community buys never would).
The reason why the IC club stuff did so well on MD was greatly in part due to all the little buys they took risks on and made very little on the previous years. It took quite a while for MD to become what it is today for Mech Keys, and it was a lot of hard work. I watched it happen.
In this case MD acted like a parent company. They invested piles of money to prototype and create a product. They handled shipping logistics. They handled packaging. They did a whole lot that would have been extremely hard for IC to do on their own, and at the very least much quicker than they could have on their own had they just used Kickstarter from the start.
To me, from a business perspective, I can't understand the confusion here. It seems like common sense that MD would own the products they invested in. This is just how business works. It's a shame people can't see this and are so quick to call "foul" just because they are a "big company." The only "foul" I'd call here is for bringing this out in public, when it should have been handled behind closed doors through friendly talks like adults. This isn't "the communities" business. The community didn't have anything to do with this part of things.
I am well aware that the MK community is growing only more recently, and that it started off small. I've seen a lot of GBs get cancelled, shut down, or just not get enough interest. I wasn't even hinting that it started off as a big money thing. My point was that IC, with their Ergodox runs were a big part of the MK part of MD becoming successful. Of course, it's due to the community that MD was able to attract, and the many other makers too, but IC was a big part of that.
When I say the MK community brought MD a lot of money, I don't mean that we just walked in and gave it to them. There were risks, to be sure, but where we are today, we've benefited MD financially quite a bit, right? In turn, they helped a lot of makers and buyers get things that wouldn't have been likely to happen.
To be fair here, IC isn't something that I have any feelings about. I think they are doing good things, and having MD fund there projects makes sense. It also makes sense that MD should have exclusive rights. I don't approve of this drama either, but I think what is happening is wrong on MD's part. I also think IC is being pretty petty/immature, but in the end, it's a lose-lose.
The confusion here is pretty obvious to a lot of us. There are two stories, and obviously, each party is only responding in a way that sheds positive light on them. I agree, this could have all been taken care of quietly, but that didn't happen. At this point, both parties had to inform their customers of potential changes. IC's kickstarter needs new switches, and that needed to at least be clarified. Again though, everything has been done poorly.
There is a big difference in something being legally possible/doable, and making a morally poor choice and exploiting those potential loopholes. That is what people aren't sure about. Sure, it was within MD's right, seemingly, but does that mean it is 'right'?
Well. Input Club responded to a comment on Kickstarter saying they won't be doing anymore drops with MD. Guess that means bye bye to any future K-Type and Ergodox drops
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That sucks. I'll hold out for a response from Massdrop before I pass any judgment, but the input club drops here were easily some of my favorites. Hopefully this is all just a misunderstanding and will be resolved amicably.
I hope they'll do something analogous or better to the K-Type on their own. I missed the K-Type and have been kicking myself for it, but after reading what happened, I'm actually glad I did miss out on it.
I canceled an order with a comment that it was because of the Halo switch sitch. Let's see how MD responds.
Just made the same.
This is extremely upsetting. I have around $800 in open orders at the moment, and if this is not rectified they will be cancelled.
I'm now strongly considering against buying the Preonic through Massdrop. After getting this letter from Input Club, I think it's safe to say the two keysets i have inbound next month will be the last purchases I make on this website.
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Massdrop has fucked up every drop I have been on, assuming they will fuck up in the future is a reasonable Bayesian inference.
Same can be said for me, I've been a part of hundreds of drops and asides the gigantic delay with Godspeed I have yet to experience any fuck ups first hand; I've also contacted support dozens of times and always been treated fairly and (usually) in a timely fashion.
I'm not defending MD's behaviour when it comes to the whole I:C situation, that's obviously a fucked up thing to do and one of the times I definitely don't want to be playing devil's advocate but assuming x drop will be fucked because y drop was is still myside bias. There's no real way around that even though you may well be right statistically speaking.
This is real shitty. If MD doesn't want to have good relationships with creators then it's time to move to somewhere else. With all the other issues MD is having why do this? Do you want people to hate you?
I am here to wait for the Massdrop response as well. I was shocked reading the email, but part of me felt not so surprised.
I have been on Massdrop for over a year and seeing the "Community portal" moving to more and more business.
Still remember the old days that stuff on Massdrop was really cheap and cared about the community voice... Hope your response convince me well
We can't get timely and accurate status from Massdrop regarding our purchases. I'm highly skeptical we'll get any useful response regarding this.
Agreed, this is unacceptable and should be rectified ASAP.
This is putting Massdrop in a pretty bad light. Not cool to act in this manner. I would like some clarity on why Massdrop is actually doing this. Massdrop wouldn't thrive without the community and it's creators, so treating them like this is pretty poor.
"Treating them like this is pretty poor."
Respect is due both ways. Massdrop isn't respecting their agreement with Input Club and, by doing so, is hurting them AND the community.
Sure, we only read one side of the story, but I don't see any good reason for this move by Massdrop aside feeling salty by the WhiteFox/NiteFox's Kickstarter and using a legal technicality to hinder it.
Massdrop may have the legal right to do so, but that movement also hurt the trust the community had on them. I myself will cancel my order on Gospeed XDA as soon as I arrive home (writing from my cell phone ).
I, too, would like to hear what Massdrop has to say.