To your point about it being a brickable device... I figured by the time the product was "bricked" (e.g. company going bust, product end-of-life, etc), that the hardware would be so out of date that it'd be time to replace it anyway.
With that said... after Nest acquired them, there's been no new meaningful features, no decrease in price, no new camera features, etc. I cancelled the "DVR" plan and will be finding an alternate system later this year.
I read the box. It listed a bunch of cool features. I bought it.
Nowhere on the box did it say, "We will keep all of your video and there is no way for you to use this device without Dropcam.com acting as an intermediary." I'm sure if I'd read some reviews, it would have been more clear to me what I was buying. But, I've bought cameras in this category before (first one I bought was a Panasonic Petcam about a decade ago, which worked wonderfully for many years, and didn't have the ability to hold my data for ransom), and never had one of them be this...um...useless, without the service associated with it. My expectation as a consumer of these kinds of devices was not, at all, met by what Dropcam is.
So, yes, I was ignorant of how Dropcam worked; but that ignorance was fostered by omission of key information on the Dropcam packaging.
"With that said... after Nest acquired them, there's been no new meaningful features, no decrease in price, no new camera features, etc. I cancelled the "DVR" plan and will be finding an alternate system later this year."
So...we're agreed, then, that you are at their mercy. You just have a much more forgiving attitude about their practices than I do. I consider it unethical (particularly the misleading copy on their packaging, but the general case of a device being ransomware, as well). Obviously, I'm not in the majority, since Dropcam is well-reviewed, and well-liked by a lot of people. I can't make people care about privacy, security, device re-usability, longevity of devices, reducing e-waste, and being able to make my own decisions about how I can use my devices, but I do still care about those things. Ease of use does not require giving up consumer choice.
Why didn't you just simply return the camera once you realized there was platform lock-in? Even after using Dropcam for significant time, the largest "investment" is the content captured during the "DVR" sliding window of 7 or 30 days--which you can export and manually download in chunks. How exactly was their product "ransomware"?
"I can't make people care about privacy, security"
FWIW, I care deeply about privacy/security, even more than some here. But how how does privacy / security relate to the service lock-in. If anything, the alternate "open" model has proven to be far worse in terms of privacy and security. I used my Dropcam to monitor the exterior of my house, pointed outward from a window. I accepted the tradeoffs, accepting the potential risk of Dropcam being hacked or a rogue engineer/admin, but trusting that they understood that risk and the need for appearing to care. Now, there's currently no consumer device on the market that I'd trust to continuously capture video in all common rooms (e.g. not bath/bed) in my house--even if only streaming to an on-prem server. The only option I'm comfortable with is building my own cameras, where I have control over the os/security/patches of the cameras.
So...we're agreed, then, that you are at their mercy.
Sure, I agree that when purchasing a paired device and service offering, that you're at the mercy of that company to continue offering said service. I fully understood what I was getting when I purchased the camera, and felt that their model was worth $149. Maybe the marketing copy has changed since launch, but i fail to see how they were "unethical" or that the device is "ransomware". To be clear, I'm referring to Dropcam in 2012, not Nest.
How "out of date" can a simple webcam get? Not to the point of it not still being useful I would think. And the decision of hardware still being useful/usable should be the users choice, not the manufacturer.
I'd strongly prefer to buy from a company that promised open sourcing / releasing access keys if they sunset the product. In fact, I'll probably look for that on future purchases...