Sep 15, 2017

Massdrop Official Update - HALO Switch

To the Massdrop Community, We were disappointed to learn that earlier today Input Club published untrue remarks regarding Massdrop and the relationship between Input Club and Massdrop. We feel some response is in order so that our community isn’t mislead by these statements, and so the community hears Massdrop’s perspective on the situation.
As you may know, for some time Input Club has collaborated with Massdrop in the design of Massdrop's HALO switch. Throughout our relationship, Input Club has acknowledged they are the "Designer" of the HALO switch, with Massdrop as the "Manufacturer and Distributor" of the HALO switch. Along the way, Massdrop spent tens of thousands of dollars, dozens of hours, and many domestic and international flights to help bring this concept to life. In our agreement, in exchange for this effort, Input Club agreed to receive a royalty from Massdrop from the sale of the HALO switch and Massdrop would be able to exclusively manufacture and distribute the switch.
In our agreement for the HALO switch, Input Club requested an exception to our exclusive distribution rights to allow them to offer switches directly to end customers as replacement parts and as standalone switches via their website. This was a reasonable request, so we agreed and wrote it into the agreement. After that, Input Club launched their kickstarter campaign for the Whitefox, offering HALO switches as an option. This was against the terms of our agreement, so we reached out to let them know and discuss ways to move forward. Their response was to tell us they would make their own HALO switch, to demand that we change the name of the HALO switch, and to demand that we inform all K-Type purchasers that they were not going to receive authentic HALO switches. At this point they directed us to their lawyer and required that all future communication go through legal channels. After two months of trying to work with Input Club's attorney, no agreement could be reached. In fact, Input Club and their attorney threatened to use a public forum as leverage to tarnish the reputation of Massdrop. We refused to give into this bullying tactic, and so today Input Club has followed through on its threat.
Regrettably, our relationship with Input Club has ended despite our great desire to find a path forward. The K-Type Keyboard with the HALO switch remains on target for delivery to its customers.
Obviously we did not want things to go this direction, as it is not a positive result for Input Club, for Massdrop, or for the community. We’ve been running the Massdrop Community Design Program for several years now. We’ve worked with many dozens of designers and we’ve never run into this problem before (in fact, nearly all designers go on to work with us on many more projects). One of the main reasons we started this company is to work with enthusiast communities and help bring their ideas to life. We plan to continue and invest further in these efforts, and to take our experiences from this partnership as a learning experience moving forward to help us get better.
Based on their actions so far, it seems like Input Club will likely respond, attempting to continue this discussion in a public setting. We have no interest in engaging further - this has taken up a meaningful amount of time and we’d prefer to spend our efforts working with our other community members and helping them bring their products to market.
Thanks for your support, especially all of you who’ve been with us since the start. It’s your interest, actions, and ideas that have made Massdrop the platform it is today.
Brad and the Massdrop team

Add a comment...
Yep and this will be the last time I use Massdrop. GG
I'm most annoyed by I:Cs poor timing, re:Kickstarter campaign. Why wouldn't they at least talk to MD about running one, and propose starting it AFTER the K-Type completely ships? It seems like a naive misstep, to think they wouldn't notice, care, or act, on them running one. They could have easily offered the standard options(Gateron, Cherry, Zealio, etc), and a switchless option for those planning on using HALO switches. Wasn't the point of the partnership to leverage MD's financial resources??
Load 1 more comment
The problem is that the sale of them through a crowdsourcing campaign isn't a direct sale. They're using Kickstarter as a pseudo-storefront, with the product offered as a potential reward. Able to sell direct on their website seems fair, as it removes any direct affiliation with Kickstarter and uncertainty with regards to the switch's origin.
That is a pathetic, low-life excuse. It's tantamount to saying, you charged people with PayPal, therefore you weren't using your own system. These are platforms that people depend on to do business. It was made abundantly clear what their intentions were from the beginning, and MassDrop is obviously just a garbage company trying to screw the little guy over.
Really wish both sides would show their hands and not rely on snippets.. Still looks like theres a lot of mudslinging on MDs side of things.. And what we are seeing is not putting MD in a good light but definitely I:C had made some false assumptions as well... Frankly I just want this resolved amicably and then have MD and IC part ways after this keyboard is shipping.. This drop is getting kickstarter type late and i just want my damn keyboard with the switches I paid for or better.. Feeling that infamous crowsourcing remorse....
I'll be laughing my ass off if we find out HALOs are total shit after getting our K-Types
And they are.
these are my thoughts after reading your response MD.

Quote MD:
In our agreement for the HALO switch, Input Club requested an exception to our exclusive distribution rights to allow them to offer switches directly to end customers as replacement parts and as standalone switches via their website. This was a reasonable request, so we agreed and wrote it into the agreement. After that, Input Club launched their kickstarter campaign
End Quote:
The reason people in general start a Kickstart is to fund a store / website.
So if you agree that they are allowed to start / have a website and distribute the Halo switch then you also agree with them getting the needed funding to do so.
it's simple really and not easy to argue.
In the end i say live and let live. as a customer i hope to get my K-type as promised without any quality problems. i don't like reading this and you not making up putting this behind us and trying to mend fences is the way to go.

Load 1 more comment
To be frank such contracts sound awful and belongs in a mob movie not a community
where the goal is furthering the hobby. But I guess in the end it's all about the $$ kind
of leaves a bad taste in your mouth not something I wanted to be a part of.
i don't know who is to blame but this behav is not good in the end.
will have to see what this means for the k-type drop. And lots of people including me
will change their view of Massdrop
they should have read the contract a bit better thats wat my wif thinks hahahah.
good point i guess ;-)
people investing money always want the best conract deal and creative types
more often lack the $$ to start alone so striking a deal with the .. hahahah
they should have gone with a kickstart without MD or negotiated a better contract
excuse my English I'm Dutch 🤓🤓
Its fishy that you guys bent over so fast to give into their demands.
Business tends to rely upon what investments can deliver in the long run, so this current furore didn't deliver much of anything for MassDrop in the long run.

If there were millions or billions to be made here, then I suspect Input Club would of been scraped clean by the Corporate Lawyers working on behalf of MD.

Be careful about forming an opinion when a company gives up on pursuing any issue via the court system.
y'all people are serious about your keyboards
Load 8 more comments
thank you for learning me a thing.
Once you clack, you won't go back.
Where's that fanboy user73 who claimed MD is "a small crew up there in Seattle trying to make all this stuff come together [...] to cultivate a community of dorks like us and empower them to buy boutique shit that others can't get their hands on. " HA.HA.HA.

I couldn't give rat's ass if MD were a group of suits in Manhattan. I'll spend money here as long as the price is right, but not for a single second will I believe that MD places the welfare of the community above its quarterly P&L or MD's employees side with customers and go extra miles against their employer's expectation.
Massdrop probably couldn't give less shit about the people complaining in this comment section. They lost 100 customers top. If they go to court, they'll probably get more money than all the people hating on MD will spend combined.
Load 13 more comments
What about them?
Ah, you meant to maybe say that you think that they are a meaningful contact for MD. I don't really see that they would be at the same level as I:C. Planc and prenonic were doing just fine without MD getting involved. If I'm not mistaken, MD has just acquired some kind of a royalty deal with OLKB for using the names and does the procurement of keyboards independently. I would not call it collaboration, just licensed manufacturing.
Regardless of who is right or wrong, this is terrible for the community of enthusiasts. Massdrop, being the bigger company, should suck it up and do what is right for the people. They should use this as a learning opportunity and a means to recover some of the trust that they have lost.
Load 3 more comments
Do you fault InputClub at all with them heading to social media instead of letting their lawyers do what they're paid to do?

I'm more annoyed by that than anything else. After reading both statements, I won't buy from InputClub but jury's still out on whether or not I'll buy from Massdrop again.

I work in and around injection molding/mfg and it's insanely complex and expensive. If Massdrop put some thing in the contract, that sound aggressive to the layperson it's probably because they have people with a better understanding on how manufacturing processes work.

If Massdrop were to fold here, after what appears to be a breach/misunderstanding of contract then what's to stop anyone else from running them over? If the legality plays out in their favor, I:C's lawyers were shitty or they didn't understand the terms.

Regardless, I:C's reaction to this is piss poor and they've lost a customer. Even if they're ultimately vindicated.
I don't agree with IC airing their dirty laundry in an attempt to gain leverage in their dispute with MD. That said, I can understand why they did it.

If nothing else comes from this, perhaps product designers will think twice before signing away the rights to their creations. Or at least review the contract more carefully.