The original idea for the CueCat (as I understand it, anyway) was for customers to use catalogs to instantly take them to the webpage where they could purchase the item that they clicked on. But who among those willing to shop on the Internet would rather browse hard copy before making their purchase? Mistake number one
Then, the company who manufactured the CueCat decided to give them away for free, presumably hoping that they would garner revenue based on purchases made using the CueCat. They used a serial number embedded into the device to track such purchases, which instantly made people feel nervous Mistake number two
Finally, Digital Convergence decided to "crack down" on those who tried to use it for non-intended purposes. They claimed that their "license agreement", which would have been agreed to had you actually opened the accompanying software, prevented the user from doing such, but it was quickly determined that if you were going to write your own drivers for the device, you probably weren't going to use their software anyway. This caused many people to grow angy at Digital Convergence for trying to find fault in innocent purposes. Mistake number three
I'm guessing that the author at The Register is right in alluding to the fact that Digital Convergence will be screwed by their own product. It's too easy to circumvent or reverse-engineer their technology, and there is little use for it the way it was intended. It seems likely to me that many of the original CueCat scanners will wind up in small businesses around the country to be used for inventory purposes in lieu of purchased scanners. For that reason, small business owners everywhere should probably thank Digital Convergence for saving them money and making their lives easier.