back to article HP exec says quiet part out loud when it comes to locking in print customers

HP is squeezing more margin out of print customers, the result of a multi-year strategy to convert unprofitable business into something more lucrative, and says its subscription model is "locking" in people. Someone holding some HP ink cartridges HP CEO talks up HP-ink-only print hardware and higher upfront costs for machines …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    These people (ie. board level) really believe their own short termism shit?

    Meanwhile, I will never touch another HP product again, I recommend to everyone not to, and I know of no-one who actually thinks HP are a company to do business with anymore.

    Several big business clients of mine used to have offices fulll of HP printers. Now brother and Xerox seem to have taken over.

    1. KarMann Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Honestly....

      I only ever loved them for their calculators, and they're pretty much done with those now, so I'll just let the door hit them on the way out.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Honestly....

        Test gear. Now Agilent.

        I last had an HP computer I wanted in 1998.

        Laser Jet 4 maybe last decent printer.

        I use Brother duplex colour laser / Scanner now.

        1. ilovesaabaeros

          Re: Honestly....

          Agilent is now Keysight, they keep changing the name!

          1. Someone Else Silver badge

            Re: Honestly....

            They are trying, in the words of Eric Clapton, "to get shed of the dirt" that their legacy implies.

          2. John Geek

            Re: Honestly....

            and Agilent's former chip division got spun out as Avago, merged with LSI Logic, then merged into Broadcom. :-/

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Honestly....

              Seems like (too?) many things get merged into (swallowed up by?) Broadcom sooner or later....

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Honestly....

          > Laser Jet 4 maybe last decent printer

          HP 5si was pretty solid.

          Many years ago, my boss used his midsized SUV (this is in the USA, so for our friends on the other side of the pond, picture something about the size of a small bistro) to transport some new IT hardware to a customer. Boss hit some ice on the freeway and the SUV spontaneously upgraded its movement stats (±1 DOF translation, +2 DOF rotation) which led to a significant downgrade to the internal volume.

          The unmounted hard drives didn't survive the adventure. The HP 5si survived, installed successfully, and was just retired a few years ago.

          1. Marty McFly Silver badge

            Re: Honestly....

            HP LaserJet 6MP sits at my desk. Running off a USB-Parallel converter. Yeah, they will probably try to kill off the drivers in an upcoming Windows release.

            Not a rocket ship by any means. It is more than adequate for the dozen or so pages I print a month. More importantly, it just works reliably. And without requiring me to sign up for an account I don't want and a subscription I don't need.

            1. David 132 Silver badge

              Re: Honestly....

              "Smart" - smart tank, smart ink, smartphone - these days seems to be a marketing euphemism for "gives us a backchannel to the customer's wallet and recurring revenue".

            2. Bill Gray

              Re: Honestly....

              > HP LaserJet 6MP

              Friends of ours had one. They were Mac users; many years back, Apple decided nobody would be using something that old. They offered it to me; I used it up until it finally went to Hardware Heaven a year or two ago. Truly a workhorse.

              The only other bit of HP hardware I have is an HP-15C. Our local recycling center has a "gift shop" if you have stuff somebody else might use, and somebody had left a 15C there, in excellent shape. I'd never have been able to afford one when I was a pimply youth.

              But come to think of it, I've never purchased HP gear. And given the issues with the current stuff, it looks unlikely that I ever will.

              1. BobChip

                Re: HP laser and HP15c

                HP laserjet. B&W 401D. I've had one for years, though, post retirement, most of the (several dozens of pages a week) printing is done for my wife's Girl Guide unit rather than my own needs. It still works, is all I need to say.

                HP 15C. Quite simply the best RPN calculator of it's day. I got mine as (almost) a pimply youth, but back then my employer paid for it - I could never have done so. More than 35 years on I still use it, even writing simple programs from time to time.

                The laser printer could fail tomorrow and cause me nothing more than temporary inconvenience; good colour lasers are cheap these days. The loss of my 15C however would be a tragedy. Fortunately, they seem to have been well enough built to outlast the universe. Not too many things you can say that about these days.

            3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Honestly....

              HP LaserJet 6MP sits at my desk. Running off a USB-Parallel converter. Yeah, they will probably try to kill off the drivers in an upcoming Windows release.

              I have a 4MP (technically a 4M that I upgraded by stealing the Postscript board and memory out of a broken 4MP) with a USB-parallel setup too. I found the Windows driver on a Microsoft FTP download site which is official (actually hosted by Microsoft, on the domain) but poorly documented. It took a bit of online research to find it and identify the correct driver files, but they worked under Windows 10. So when the time comes you may be able to use the same resource.

              I have the site bookmarked but on my old laptop which isn't booted up yet. I imagine you can find it easily enough, though.

              The only maintenance the 4MP has ever needed was replacing the toner cartridge — which I had to do "early" (before it ran out of toner) because the seal had degraded and it was smearing lines of toner on the page. Thing's a tank.

            4. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

              Re: Honestly....

              One reason it's not a rocket ship is you're severely limiting speed, USB to parallel converters are typically limited by the chipset to 500Kb/s instead of the 20Mb/s capable by ECP.

              Sadly unless you have an EIO network card (and it also has to be the *right* network card, some are quite slow) for it you're stuck, unless you've a system prior to 2008 that has a real parallel port with DMA support in the BIOS, and an old version of Windows (Unix support is very poor, it's limited to standard parallel 500Kb/s again).

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Honestly....

                Old Macdonald...?

        3. NeilPost

          Re: Honestly....

          My Laserjet 4250N is pretty solid and still doing the business after what 15 years ?? Happily takes 3rd party 20K large yield toners.

          If HP charges a fair amount I might buy one, but they don’t so no business going here - now or future.

          If it dies, I will probably replace with a Brother.

    2. Wade Burchette

      Re: Honestly....

      I know two people whose HP laptop did not last a year before it died. This was last year. And since Windows 11 foolishly encrypts a hard drive without your permission, I had a terrible time recovering the files.

      And the HP printers ... a pox on HP's house. No one should ever buy a HP printer ever again. Their laser printers require an email address and an internet connection to work, even if it is connected by a USB cable. The other alternative is their ink printers which once had easy to use screens. But making the product easy to use for the customer is bad for profit. So now these printers have confusing buttons that require you to print the confusing instructions using your own ink or you have to go to their website and download the confusing instructions. On one printer I helped someone with, the printed instructions had obvious spelling errors and were wrong. And if that was not bad enough, each require their equally confusing app to get the printer driver. If you are lucky, the scanner will work without an email address. But only if you are lucky because many HP printers gimp the frustrating printer app without personal information. Nobody should ever buy a HP printer for any reason, no exception.

      HP once had good products. I once only looked at HP laptops. But no more. Now I do not even think about their printers or computers. If anybody asks me -- and a lot me do ask me -- I clearly tell them why they should not buy anything HP. (However, I will say that I did help a family member get a business monitor from them and it has been great. It was a 16:10 monitor with excellent color accuracy. Still going strong after 4 years.)

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: HP monitor

        I took a chance on an HP monitor because it was so cheap it would not have been a great loss. I assume HP's reputation was driving the price. I hope the person responsible at HP did not get fired for badging something that has worked perfectly without demanding a subscription for fresh pixels.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Honestly....

        > I know two people whose HP laptop did not last a year before it died. This was last year. And since Windows 11 foolishly encrypts a hard drive without your permission...

        $dayjob issued me a shiny new HP laptop a few months ago. After about a month, half of the ports on the docking station died (unless I plug my external monitor into the other Displayport). This morning the laptop failed the first attempt at booting with a bitlocker related error.

        Thankfully I have all my critical stuff on network drives (and My Documents is redireced to a network share for the less critical stuff).

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          Re: Honestly....

          I've told this tale around here before, but... my previous employer habitually issued Thinkpads to employees. Proper, IBM ones, rock solid, could be used to batter rabid elephants to death if need be.

          Well one year - this would be around 2008 - our IT dept was experimenting with alternative vendors, and issued me with an HP Elitebook of some sort.

          It seemed OK, reasonably well put together.

          Until I was at a training conference in San Francisco, seated (like the goody-two-shoes Teacher's Pet that I am, on the front row right in front of the instructor), typing notes, and a key flew spontaneously off my keyboard with a sproing!! sound and landed on the instructor's desk right in front of him. True professional that he was, he picked it up and handed it back to me without missing a beat :)

          So yeah, I insisted on Thinkpads after that one.

          I always knew the rot had set in at HP when they ran that mawkish advert a few years ago, gushing about how they were building on the heritage of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, "and look here's the actual garage they started in, etc etc."

          When a company starts telling everyone about its wonderful "heritage" and "values"... run.

          1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

            Re: Honestly....

            I had a customer who had a Thinkpad (in IBM days). He kept insisting on downloading registry checkers and other abominations, against my advice.

            Every time I went there he used to get me to de-louse it, and it would be fine for a while...

            One day when I arrived he expressed his displeasure by throwing it at the wall, making a small dent... in the wall.

            Retrieved if from the floor, put it on his desk, plugged it in and proceeded to de-louse it in the customary way...

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Honestly....

              Back when I was teaching at university, I managed a number of times to trip over my Thinkpad's power cord while pacing about the room, dragging it off the desk and onto the terrazzo floor. Never bothered it at all.

              1. My-Handle

                Re: Honestly....

                My SO uses a Thinkpad for her day-to-day work (self employed). Same thing happened to it a couple of evenings ago, except it was a small horde of puppies that caught the power cable :). Minor damage to the case, but the machine didn't seem to care.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Honestly....

                  I hope the puppies were ok!

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Honestly....

          This morning the laptop failed the first attempt at booting with a bitlocker related error.

          The very first day that you start using a Windows machine with Bitlocker enabled, you should 1) back the key up to a USB drive, and 2) print out the recovery key on an actual piece of paper.

          And should you ever disable Bitlocker and re-enable it, check to see if the key has changed, and if so repeat steps 1 and 2.

          Yes, this is a pain. No, Microsoft do not make it easy. (You can do it through Settings, or, better, from the command line with manage-bde, but it's still far from obvious, particularly for non-technical users.) But it saves a ton of grief when the machine fails and you want to harvest the drives.

          Of course, with work systems, the organization ought to be automatically escrowing BitLocker keys. That's just common sense. I've yet to see an IT department do that correctly, though. (For a while ours was trying to do it using InTune and some Azure-hosted Microsoft thing, but it only worked for some machines, for no apparent reason. And recovering the keys from that system was unnecessarily complicated and difficult.)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Honestly....

        Their laser printers require an email address and an internet connection to work,

        I'm not sure about that, mine (installed 2 years ago) tried to get me to set that up, but it runs fine on my local network, and via USB, without an internet connection.

        Otherwise I agree with the HP hate, the hardware is poor and the supporting software is beyond rubbish. Early versions of the "HP Smart" utility couldn't even do a reverse DNS lookup correctly.

        Admittedly I only bought it as an emergency purchase, during a house move my excellent Brother laser printer was in storage and I needed to scan/print legal documents. £1/sheet in the local library was getting expensive, but a quick shufti turned up the HP one for something like £25 in WH Smiths. At that price it's essentially disposable, I still keep it for occasional colour prints, for as long as it lasts.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Honestly....

          >I'm not sure about that,

          Fact. My non-technical elderly neighbor bought one at a retail store and asked me to help set it up. Very frustrating as it would not work of USB...until I RTFM and created the mandatory account with the mandatory credit card on file. Then the USB port kicked it. It wanted all sorts of wifi network access too & EULA agreements.

          HP printers are garbage to be avoided.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Honestly....

            Maybe it's a US thing. We were printing today (UK) wth no internet connection required.

          2. hedgie Bronze badge

            Re: Honestly....

            Yeah, I'd never touch an HP anything ever again. It at least seems like Epson is responding better to the well-deserved criticism.[2] I ordered my other one of their "Ecotank" all in ones, and it's so much nicer. Designed to be refillable and reasonably-priced ink is a definite bonus, and 4 oz bottles do last quite some time. And the drivers are surprisingly non-painful, the only software install on Mac being fairly minimal and only for the scanner since printing uses CUPS.

            [2] Hitherto recently, I'd only have bought Epson or Canon anything if it was the sort of photo printing where someone else, aka, someone buying a photo, paying for the ink costs.

      4. Grogan Silver badge

        Re: Honestly....

        That scared the shit out of me (I haven't been working on Windows lately), but it seems it was either the vendor that encrypted the hard drive, or the user got presented with a misleading prompt and thought it was a good idea to "keep their files safe".

        Encryption isn't enabled by default, neither device encryption (drive) nor bitlocker (directories and files).

        Edit: Sorry about that, I was wrong! I must have been reading old info. IF the PC/laptop supports the required power management features, it is enabled by default now! That is beyond foolish. Bloody Hell.

        I personally always stopped at encryption for data recovery. "my condolences" if the user did that. I don't have time for that, and nobody ever has any backup keys. The worst of that bitlocker encryption is, if you force your way in by resetting a failing password hash in the SAM (which I often had to do when people were locked out), the keys are useless... they were tied to that. This is the kind of security that is more likely to foil the legitimate user.

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Re: Honestly....

          Encryption isn't enabled by default, neither device encryption (drive) nor bitlocker (directories and files).

          Bitlocker is also drive encryption. Perhaps you're thinking of the separate file/folder encryption of Windows? In any case, I keep always backup keys: not just as files, but as physical printouts in a sealed envelope with a trusted third party. I admit that most normal users wouldn't even understand what I was talking about there, though. So automatic device encryption (in whatever form) is probably a bad idea.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Honestly....

            the separate file/folder encryption of Windows

            Yeah, "EFS", for "encrypted file system". Quite a bit older than BitLocker, and has some nice features, such as supporting multiple keys (so you can give access to multiple people, on a file/directory basis). Also will escrow keys to AD in a domain. But it's more work to use than BitLocker, and probably slower, though I haven't benchmarked it.

            Still there, at least in Windows 10. See the cipher.exe command.

            To be frank, I personally don't bother securing my printed-out recover keys, or my recovery USB drives, very carefully. What's the threat model in which someone tries to get my recovery keys from some physical object in my possession? I give that a very low probability. I expect that even if my computer bag were stolen with both my laptop and, say, a printed-out recovery key in it, the thief would ditch the bag and the recovery key before discovering the drive was encrypted.

            But, of course, taking additional precautions with the recovery key has relatively low cost, so if you think it's worth doing so, go right ahead.

            1. Cris E

              Re: Honestly....

              For me, securing is not defending against theft, subterfuge or any other black hats. It's having a consistent place for that stuff that I won't forget. My brain is a crowded and disorganized place, and this sort of unnecessary cruft is the first to go.

      5. Eecahmap

        Re: Honestly....

        I have an HP inkjet printer that was bundled with a new iMac in 2008, from Apple.

        When the ink ran out, I continued using it as a scanner, and it still works that way, despite dried-out ink supplies.

        I don't see buying any more HP kit, either.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Honestly....

        "I know two people whose HP laptop did not last a year before it died."

        My office HP laptop lasted exactly 13 months before giving up the ghost. Of course that's just anecdotal, but I've worked for a variety of companies in the last 15-20 years with a range of laptops from Lenovo, Dell and Toshiba, and never had a problem with any of them.

      7. withQuietEyes

        Re: Honestly....

        I bought the Pavilion when I started a computer science degree at uni, so excited for my first Real Laptop (had a Chromebook before that because it was cheap and a pretty color). It broke down on me three times that first year, and was hot and making screaming fan noises all the rest of the time. Gave up on it the next year, when my dad found a half-price Thinkpad that I've been using ever since. Only problem I've ever had with my Thinkpad was my own stupid fault. (I busted up the charging port somehow).

      8. old_n_grey

        Re: Honestly....

        "I know two people whose HP laptop did not last a year before it died. "

        First a confession, I had just joined EDS when HP bought them. So was an HP employee for a while then an HPE employee (functional consultant - implemented Oracle! I knew how to enjoy myself). So it made sense for me to get HP printers and ink as I received a very decent discount. Having retired, sorry that should be having taken advantage of the monotonously regular voluntary redundancy scheme, a few years ago I still have an HP inkjet and am one of that small band of happy users that have Instant Ink. If I don't make the most of the monthly subscription (often by printing loads of A4 photos) that's my own fault. Although as the years have gone by the family is definitely not printing as much as we used to. However, the reason for this reply is not to defend HP. Just to mention that this response is being typed on an HP Probook laptop that is at least a dozen years old. Other than the installation of an SSD, it is still going strong, and still useable because it's running Linux Mint.

        When the printer finally dies, I will probably buy a Canon with ink tanks. Not sure what I'll get when the laptop dies. Might just restrict myself to my desktop in the study.

    3. ilovesaabaeros

      Re: Honestly....

      I made the vow never to buy another HP product about 15 years ago. I was posted from the UK to the US with work for a few years and took an HP 6 colour photo inkjet with me. It printed great photos and the ink was not cripplingly expensive, so I quite liked it. Eventually I needed a new cartridge (yellow as I recall) and bought one from a store, same model number as the one I took out. Once fitted, it moaned that there was a region incompatibility.

      Region coding DVDs etc was a bad enough money grab but you could almost see through the lies and accept the release dates excuse for it, but region coded ink can only be for profit reasons. HP offered to change the region of my printer for me as a one-off gesture of good will, provided I paid to ship it to them and back. I shipped it straight to the bin and have never bought another HP product since. Or inkjet printer for that matter.

    4. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Honestly....

      I wonder how much longer you will see HP printers on the high street. With the focus on subscription, HP are going to have to be giving monies back to stores to stock their printers as there is a much more limited sales of ink etc.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Honestly....

        If people keep buying the cheapest printer available, maybe they'll be able to make it up on volume. At least, that appears to be their plan. I do wonder how many HP printers are sitting around in closets where people just avoid printing because they don't want to end up wasting too much money on this one, but if they use it once, they'll have to start doing that again.

    5. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Honestly....

      You've got to believe it. They'll spout all sorts of BS to the customers and workforce but the financial world is one of truth (because if they don't speak the truth then there are invariably consequences). It might be varnished to make it opaque, it might seem too unreal to be true but this is what's driving our businesses, and through it our society.

      Its not "short term" either. Its nothing to do with printers, they're just the tool, the vehicle, that drives business. They're monopolizing a space, monetizing it and then defending it from anything that might erode or threaten it.

      (This is why people like Elon Musk are given such a hard time. They're destabilizing but they unwilling or unable to join the flow. So they'll be the harmless eccentric, the maverick entrepreneur, the business to take down (take over / short / bankrupt) and then its WAR. I'm not sure if Musk truly understands the forces he's unleashed. One way we can all help is refusing to participate -- have no opinions, take no sides, just leave the capitalists to fight it out among themselves. (Its the same with China, BTW -- they want a piece or at least have the place subservient to their needs, to be the low cost profit generator. If it refuses to behave itself -- submit to the "rules based international order" -- then it is, once again, war. By participating in their war we're effectively fighting against ourselves.)

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Honestly....

      > board level) really believe their own short termism

      Sadly, usually yes. Often because they've surrounded themselves in an echo chamber of yay-sayers and lickspittles.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Honestly....

        It's musical chairs up there.

        The company only has to appear to do well for a couple of years, then they're off somewhere else, riding the "success story".

        Nevermind that the company they left is a shrivelled husk, that doesn't matter.

    7. Binraider Silver badge

      Re: Honestly....

      Yeah, we've jumped to Xerox too. I don't have a feel for the costs but they are generally good, reliable printers/all-in-ones.

      In a somewhat dim and distant job I looked after a stack of LaserJet 4's. Rock solid and required very little attention, apart from the odd user error demanding the toner hoover. Somewhat hard to maintain now, unfortunately.

      1. Cris E

        Re: Honestly....

        These days the hardware, the printing itself, is usually not a problem. Folks would use hardware from any number of vendors if quality and reliability were the only criteria. Alas it is not. The grasping, voracious business models that are manifested in hateful software and Dickensian contracts are driving folks away.

        I wonder if you could survive just making cheap, open printers that took any after-market toner/ink? I suppose it would be so low margin that most companies wouldn't bother tying up the assets in it, but if you went with the cheap Chinese mfg and didn't do much support it might be profitable for a small organization. Think of it as cheap network gear where you're not setting standards or trying to get rich, just want to sell some stuff and retire comfortably.

    8. Snowy Silver badge

      Re: Honestly....

      Sounds more "Lockout" than a "Lock in"

  2. devin3782

    I don't understand this mind set, are these people that detached from reality? I'm glad I made the decision long ago not to buy anything HP.

    HP has for a long time stood for Horrible Products and they're really plumbing depths of crap-tac-u-la

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      It once stood for Hewlett Packard and obviously once they'd gone a new backronym was needed.

  3. Fred Daggy Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Well, HP lost me as a customer.

    I'll use the current printer until its dead, buy second hand if I can, then ... probably just not print. HP haven't been any good for at least 10 years. To badly quote Adams D, "Why don't you recommend HP to a friend? Because I want to keep them".

    Anyone got a spare HP LaserJet III handy?

    Cannot and will not handover any monthly sub money, for anything. No amazon prime, disney+, hp sub, linkedin gold, telsa lease. I am not going to rent my existence.

    (The one exception (and it irks me every day) is having to rent. The housing market for km around is locked up. Rent, or live on the street. No one, but no one sells a house in this area. If the landlord keeps *ssing me off like this, i might just bite the bullet though. WFH is now a thing, but most landlords here haven't noticed.)

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Well, HP lost me as a customer.

      FWIW, most of the internals in those fondly remembered hyper-reliable HPII and HPIII printers that seemingly ran forever were made by Canon, not HP.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Well, HP lost me as a customer.

        I had a Laserjet 4 years ago (like, turn of the century). I always believed it was a rebadged Brother, or maybe it was vice-versa.

        Was I mistaken? Canon?

        1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

          Re: Well, HP lost me as a customer.

          I confirm.

          The main difference was the electronics, and the printing language supported (no PCL on Canon).

          And the toner was far less expansive if you bought it from Canon, as we told our customers at the time.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Well, HP lost me as a customer.

          The printing engine for the LJ4 was apparently a Canon of some sort (EX, EX+, etc), depending on the model. Different electronics and firmware, so "rebadged" is arguably unfair.

  4. TKW

    "Since then it has banked double-digit revenues."

    Sorry, my area of expertise is tech not finance, but to me this reads like the revenue they paid into their bank was somewhere between $10 and $99: can someone explain the term to me?

    1. Chris Evans

      Not just you. I was just about to say the same. I wonder if they meant 'double digit' percentage increase in the number of subscribers. Though I don't think 10%+ particularly notable.

    2. Paul Kunert

      Hey, it is double digit percentage revenue rises. My bad, thanks for highlighting. Paul @ The Reg.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        TBH, leaving that assumption floating was way funnier.


  5. bouvin

    I am currently unfortunately in the possession of a HP inkjet printer (though not in the clutches of their subscription model). As soon as the ink runs out, I’m buying a Brother laserprinter.

    One of my favourite gadgets is my Hewlett-Packard HP-15C – which is still going strong 36 years after I bought it (currently on its second set of batteries). It is regrettable that the company did not continue along its old path of engineering excellence.

    1. Fred Daggy Silver badge

      I think you answered it yourself, engineering excellence does not allow HP (or anyone else) to suck at the breast of subscription revenues.

    2. Andy Non Silver badge

      Best move I ever did, ditching HP inkjet printers and switching to Brother laser printers. The printer itself and toner lasts for an eternity and no need to subscribe or sign up for anything. It just works... until the day it doesn't then I'll replace it with another Brother printer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Just don't get a Brother inkjet printer. Their driver software makes ransomware look benign..

        1. Tim13

          Got a Brother MFC-9840 in 2008; changed the yellow toner in 2021 because it leaked. Printed about 500 pages, scanned 70.000. Still works, and to print in color generic PS driver works just fine. 15 years the original toner.

          The HP OfficeJet ink always dry, and scanning never worked correctly on Mac, in 4 years bought 2 different models. Never again HP.

    3. David M

      Ditto with my 41-year-old HP-11C. A beautifully-made thing, slightly battered but still working perfectly. And I remember back in the 80s/early 90s, there would be labs full of HP test gear that was totally solid and reliable. And expensive, admittedly (hence HP = "High Price") but you felt you were getting your money's worth. Those were the days!

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        That quality was what the HP brand traded on for a long time. The fact that they're still in business underlines how long a brand can last in the general public's eyes. Maybe the continued life of the old stuff helps with that. There must be offices with HP lasers running smoothly although in their lifetimes a few generations of ink jets have been bought and died.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Reminds me a bit of Mercedes. They had a streak of bad quality* too but it appears that has abated. Now it's just bad design - not a good idea to take a hearse as a baseline (IMHO, of course).


          * In relation to what they used to build, the delta was enough to notice

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            When I was young, my family drove Mercedes almost exclusively. They'd buy them with 50,000 to 100,000 miles on them (just broken in) and drive them till they died. Mine died young at 202,000 miles and 17 years; most went over 250,000 miles. Repairs were easy, with basic hand tools; we replaced the water pump on one in the driveway, did brakes, oil changes, etc. Piece of cake due to the excellent design and high quality.

            The Chryslers with the "Mercedes" label on them, however...

    4. Maximus Decimus Meridius

      Another vote for Brother Lasers

      Bought a dual sided Brother Laser 4 years ago for £85 after cashback. Replaced the supplied black toner cart a week or two ago after 3k pages. The web interface shows it has had 2 paper jams in total. It just works. Exactly what I need.

  6. John Sager

    The good bits of HP went to Agilent over 20 years ago and some of that now resides with Keysight.

    Having said that I used to have a HP laptop at work many years ago, which was excellent for the time, not least because I loaded Linux on it and it just worked.

  7. abend0c4 Silver badge

    Up its bottom

    I know it's invidious to quote selectively, but I think it's merited on this occasion.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "HP is squeezing more margin out of print customers"

    You mean, the ones it has left.

    Laser is the future. Toner can be refilled, nobody knows who did it (yet).

    Ink is just you subscribing to a mafia cartel in Saville Row suits. Ditch them. Besides, do you really need to print in color ? Really ? That business presentation ? Make it a PowerPoint. Or a PDF. Nobody needs the slides on paper, and absolutely nobody will know where the paper is in a week. Send them the effin' file. Aren't we supposed to be going paperless ?

    And for the few holdouts who absolutely want their pics on print, don't you know that Kodak does the job for pennies ?

    Stop the nonsense. If you're a professional printer, you already don't use ink. If you're an amateur, you've got magnetic storage. If you want a wall-size print, you're not doing it on an HP inkjet.

    Stop feeding the trolls. They don't deserve it.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "HP is squeezing more margin out of print customers"

      Colour doesn't necessarily mean ink-jet. In fact it hasn't for me for quite a while. But sometimes print is needed and sometimes it needs to be in colour. One thing that's easily missed is that if you only need occasional prints laser excels at this even more than for a heavy printing load because you don't spend any of your toner on cleaning cycles let alone ditch half full cartridges because they're irredeemably blocked up.

      And no, I don't want a trip into town every time I want to run off a couple of sheets of print. (Admittedly it would probably be quicker than waiting for an ink-jet to clean itself up.)

  9. misterlambe

    I bought an HP printer and was a total nightmare. Wouldn't stay connected to WiFi whatever I did. Sent it all back and got a Canon that works flawlessly. Issue is still ink is so pricey but HP kit is crap.

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      HP printer wireless

      Had this at DearOldMum's. The new landfill HP inkjet refused to talk to the NowTV router. The solution is to make sure that the 2.4GHz and 5GHz wifi have a different SSID. Which is a shame, as every single consumer broadband Wifi device is set to have the same name for both bands.

    2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      I ditched my Canon PIXMA printer and got myself an Epson Eco-Tank. The reason is that I only print occasionally, and every time I wanted print out a letter after a few weeks of non-use the thing demanded a new set of ink cartridges. The Epson OTOH is happy to sit idle for a while and then print straight off without needing replenishment.

      1. Lurko

        I have a Canon G4511 that has a similar ink reservoir system as the Epson eco-tank printers. It would be cheap to run, except that the print heads are prone to clogging unless used very regularly, so it gets through huge amounts of ink in the slow, tedious and unreliable cleaning processes.

        1. Chz

          That's just life with ink jets. Once colour lasers got cheap enough, I waved goodbye to them forever. The only thing they were ever better at was printing photos, and you can do that on the web with next-day delivery now. I've never found myself needing a high-quality printed photo *right now*. The laser is Good Enough for most photo usage (read: the kids' school reports) anyhow.

          And yes, Brother.

      2. NXM Silver badge

        Ecotank printer

        I got my mother one because recently, every single time I visit, the HP printer has run out of one colour, and she can't fit a new cartridge (too fiddly for her). Just after I've left, another one takes the opportunity to run out so the useless machine stays useless.

        The ecotank one can be refilled when I'm there so it lasts till next time.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have an old Brother MFC inkjet. Official Brother cartridges are $15 each, but I can buy aftermarket ones on Amazon for just under $1 each. Printer does not know or care what brand the ink is; the cartridge is really just a small tank, no chips or anything.

  10. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    To all intents and purposes, I've now stopped printing entirely. The paperless office has finally become a reality for work, maybe once a year print something like a return label with a barcode, and once every 2-3 years a photo or two to put in a frame, but that's it. In fact even return labels are mostly paperless these days apart from a sticker at the post office.

    If my current HP (with free Instant Ink subscription, natch) gives up the ghost, I won't replace it.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: mostly paperless these days

      I use an 8" and 10" Kobo eInk ereaders and free LO Writer and calibre ebook management. Photos are viewed on HD or 4K TVs and monitors. A cheap HD DVB-T modulator with HDMI loop through allows photos, music and video on any HD TV in the house.

      The laser printer now only used for crochet & knitting patterns.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: mostly paperless these days

        I wish I could. Maybe I'm old fashioned but I still prefer to review things like contracts on paper.

        Heck, I even still buy pens :)

      2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: mostly paperless these days

        "I use an 8" and 10" Kobo eInk ereaders and free LO Writer and calibre ebook management. Photos are viewed on HD or 4K TVs and monitors. A cheap HD DVB-T modulator with HDMI loop through allows photos, music and video on any HD TV in the house."

        I think I'd rather print ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  11. Lazlo Woodbine

    If car manufacturers did this...

    If car manufacturers tied you to certain filling stations, there'd be uproar.

    At least now HP have confirmed they hate theiir customers and see them only as cash cows, we can all now avoid them...

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: If car manufacturers did this...

      Don't give them ideas!!

      If Apple made cars....

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: If car manufacturers did this...

        Umm, you guys have heard of Tesla, haven't you?

        I'll get my coat, its the one with the receipt for the foam filled tyres in the pocket, (so that only Tells dealers can replace them...)

        1. Lazlo Woodbine

          Re: If car manufacturers did this...

          You don't have to use a Supercharger to charge a Tesla...

        2. Ace2 Silver badge

          Re: If car manufacturers did this...

          I have standard, non-Tesla-sold tires on mine.

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

            Re: If car manufacturers did this...

            Interesting, are they foam filled, or just air filled? I ask because I was having the tires on my car (non-Tesla) replaced with new ones and a Tesla owner came in and was told that the garage could not replace Tesla tires that were foam filled (I assume it gets a bit messy taking them off).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If car manufacturers did this...

      If car manufacturers tied you to certain filling stations, there'd be uproar.

      Like Tesla?

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: If car manufacturers did this...

        I don't have or want to have a Tesla, so I don't know the details here, but do they prevent you from using any charger? I thought their network of chargers was an option, not a requirement. The closest thing I've heard of was that they would block cars that had received repairs from using their chargers, but I'm not sure whether they do this or threatened to do this, and it is not quite the same thing even though I don't want them to do that either.

    3. Schultz

      "HP have confirmed they hate theiir customers"

      No, no, no, HP loves their customers! They love their customers like the invasive cat on some remote island loves the flightless, ground-dwelling bird chick. Tasy!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If car manufacturers did this...

      If car manufacturers tied you to certain filling stations, there'd be uproar.

      Maybe not car manufacturers, but the people running the payable chargers are hard at it - I fear it'll reauire legislation before they stop.

      The problem they have is that nothing distinguishes them from each other other than charging speed. There are precious few additives you can add to electricity :)

    5. Bebu Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: If car manufacturers did this...

      《If car manufacturers tied you to certain filling stations, there'd be uproar.》

      Careful! Don't Musk any sillier ideas - he has enough of his own.

    6. khinch

      Re: If car manufacturers did this...

      Isn't BMW trying to start charging monthly subscriptions for gadgets like heated seats? Or is that just a rumour?

      1. devin3782

        Re: If car manufacturers did this...

        They did, but then went back on it with some weasel words about it and then said but customers will happily pay for more for software tweaks/updates and we're going to do this anyway via the back door just not heated seats.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If car manufacturers did this...

          So one way or the other they get at your backside..


  12. heyrick Silver badge

    Since then it has banked double-digit revenues.

    I'm an Instant Ink subscriber. Had my crappy little inkjet (3630) for about five years now. And I find the subscription a hell of a lot cheaper than purchasing ink (hideously expensive for the drops they supply - did you know the instant ink cartridges are much larger than the retail ones?) plus since I live rural if I want to print a full page photo I can, I don't need to think "do I have enough ink" and "when can I do a trip into a larger town to buy replacements" and all that crap. I print as and when I want and every so often a little box turns up with new ink. Plus, a few euros a month is a lot simpler to have as a recurring expense than the "how fscking much?" for a pair of smaller retail carts, that don't actually give a lot of real world use.

    I don't have space for a tank setup, and I don't imagine another brand would be might different. I'd simply be swapping an evil empire for a slightly less evil one, and all the crap that involves. Meh. I'll stick with this until the thing packs up. It's already three years over warranty and I've only needed to strip it down twice for a bloody good clean (which reminds me, it spews it's own ink as much as it does the retail ones).

    1. Jim Mitchell

      Re: Since then it has banked double-digit revenues.

      "I don't have space for a tank setup"

      I replaced a HP inkjet with and Epson Eco Tank years ago, it wasn't any bigger.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Since then it has banked double-digit revenues.

        I looked at one of those but bought a Brother multi-function laser instead. It was bigger but worth the space.

        1. Bent Metal

          Re: Since then it has banked double-digit revenues.

          I'm still very happy with my Brother colour laser / scanner I bought at the start of this year.

          I've the replacement toner purchased and sitting ready, but not yet installed. Because notwithstanding the printer noting that the black toner is getting low, it's still happily printing away as and when needed - especially those occasional bits of schoolwork for the kids. And the prints still look exactly as they should.

        2. Jim Mitchell

          Re: Since then it has banked double-digit revenues.

          My printer choice might have been tainted by my memories of waiting minutes for the laser printer to warm up and then seeing the lights dim when it started printing. These are probably no longer issues...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Since then it has banked double-digit revenues.

            That's only because they had to strengthen the power network for EVs :)

          2. albegadeep

            Re: Since then it has banked double-digit revenues.

            Indeed. The lights in the room with my Brother laser do dim when the fuser starts up. House was built in 1999. But it does warm up pretty quick.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Since then it has banked double-digit revenues.

      >” did you know the instant ink cartridges are much larger than the retail ones?”

      All they are doing here is playing catch up with the third party cartridge suppliers.

      With a subscription, it is in HPs interest to incur as little cost as possible, which effectively means sending out the minim7m number of cartridges…

    3. DexterWard

      Re: Since then it has banked double-digit revenues.

      Also quite happy with my HP printer plus instant ink. About half the price of buying cartridges, and I have hobbies that need colour printing, although not in big volumes.

  13. Martin Summers

    Some people here really don't like HP then huh?

    I'm on their free instant ink tier that they tried to scrap. 15 pages a month. Which is great until you need to clean the heads. I gave up paying more for instant ink when the only way I could solve a problem with a dodgy cartridge was to cancel their service and resubscribe as there was no way whatsoever of easily getting in touch with them to raise the fact it was dodgy. I just managed to get in to their free tier and have been milking that since. They rarely get any money from me.

    At work, I've never seen so many HP laptops (inherited from a merger) with their batteries bulging needing replacement, thankfully free under their still ongoing replacement program. I'm amazed at just how shoddy their stuff is. As for their servers, have you tried using their support sites to get all the drivers etc you need to set one up? They really are a piece of work as a company and one day they'll be wondering why they went bankrupt.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      "As for their servers, have you tried using their support sites to get all the drivers etc you need to set one up?"

      That's HPE, not HP. Same ancestor, different businesses since 2015.

      I don't find HPE support site particularly hard to use at all, and setting one Proliant up doesn't really require even a visit. What's your beef?

      1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

        >>setting one Proliant up doesn't really require even a visit

        Yeh it does. Or did. A few years ago. Win 2016 (flavour of the month back then) didn't have the correct drivers for the built in RAID on the proliant so no visit to HPE for support driver image = no Windows install (becasue Windows couldn't see the storage).

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          They usually have some non-RAID storage you can use, you can even stick a USB stick in.

  14. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    HP and Linux

    I too dislike crappy HP inkjets. But they do at least provide reasonable drivers, that are up-to-date.

    My Bother Laser has a manufacturer's driver, but it's 2 years old.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: HP and Linux

      "My Bother Laser has a manufacturer's driver, but it's 2 years old."

      But does it work?

    2. ragnar

      Re: HP and Linux

      Perhaps there's no need for them to publish new drivers continuously? It's a defined set of functionality for the product. If the reported bugs are squashed, there's no point in doing more releases.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: HP and Linux

      >” But they do at least provide reasonable drivers”

      Just had to deal with an MS update that involved HP printers = the update kept failing, the recommended solution was the total removal of HP print drivers - HP does not seem to provide a “clean” utility these days, so a fully manual process…

      Update then installed followed by HP drivers…

      So yes “reasonable” is a fair description.

      1. Jamesit

        Re: HP and Linux

        "HP does not seem to provide a “clean” utility these days, so a fully manual process…"

        Revo Uninstaller might be able to remove the drivers and any leftover files.

        "Revo Uninstaller is an uninstaller for Microsoft Windows. It uninstalls programs and additionally removes any files and Windows registry entries left behind by the program's uninstaller or by the Windows uninstall function."

    4. nintendoeats Silver badge

      Re: HP and Linux

      The most recent download from Brother for my printer is 2013. It has worked perfectly since the day it came out of the box, only asking the ocassional new toner cartridge. So...

  15. bofh1961

    Razors and razorblades...

    The low initial outlay is very tempting but ongoing costs are extortionate. I've owned a couple of inkjets from different manufacturers, the difference in build quality was very noticeable between the earlier and later one. I gave up on printing when the second one died with only light use just after the warranty expired. Photos look better on screen anyway, in the same way that projected slides always looked better than prints.

  16. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    I warn people against buying HP printers, and tell them if they want my help they buy something else.

    Usually they say "I only print every now and then, can I just email you a PDF?"

    The cost of printing about three pages a month for my neighbours is definitely worth not having people crying over not being able to print because their "Daylight Robbery" er "Instant Ink" subscription ran out

  17. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

    I rather like HP printers and Instant Ink

    Yeah, go ahead, downvote me. I care not a jot.

    For 99p a month, I get a solid printer with good, genuine ink cartridges, which can go through its profligate head-cleaning routine as much as it likes because I'm paying per page. Which means when I occasionally need to print, I know the printer is going to work, unlike the previous Canon and Epson units, which hated occasional use and let you know by drying up and refusing to print until they had been fed new cartridges.

    Very occasionally I have a busy month, and have to increase the Instant Ink subscription to £2.99 for that month. And the software is great, you can increase the sub, then immediately decrease it, and you get a single month at the increased rate, so there's no need to remember to decrease it later.

    <shrug> Works for me.


    1. sten2012

      Re: I rather like HP printers and Instant Ink

      Pretty sure I'm paying more per page because I only use the printer a few times a year and it's always needing new ink because the lack of use. So maybe print 30 pages a year, but that means going through maybe 3 ink carts a year at 20 odd quid each.

      The way you describe it sounds like a good deal for me too to be completely honest, even though I find the idea abhorrent.

    2. Pete Sdev Bronze badge

      Re: I rather like HP printers and Instant Ink

      Yep, the 99c/month works well for me. We only need to print occasionally but when we do it's often important (official stuff).

      A set amount of unused page allowance gets rolled in to the next month, so a small 'burst' doesn't cost extra.

      New cartridges turned up in the post before the current ones are empty without me having to think about it. Even came with a postage-paid bag for sending the old ones back for recycling.

      Also critical for me is the decent Linux drivers.

      If you print a lot then there's going to be cheaper alternatives and you should avoid.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I rather like HP printers and Instant Ink

      When it dies, get a Brother laser. No worries about ink drying up or being used in head-cleaning, cartridges last a long time, accepts non-Brother cartridges without complaint, and works fine under Linux.

      1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

        Re: I rather like HP printers and Instant Ink

        Do they do one with duplex printing and duplex ADF scanning? I use my HP more for scanning that I do for printing, and last time I looked laser all-in-ones with duplex ADF scanning were larcenously expensive.


  18. romulusnr

    Aren't there literally laws against this? I suppose it will take a lawsuit to make them apply.

  19. Steve McIntyre

    HP can go and die in a fire

    They used to make good stuff and care about customers, but that stopped years ago. I'll never buy anything from them again, and I advise friends and family to do the same.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: HP can go and die in a fire

      It stopped caring about 20 years ago.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HP can go and die in a fire

      I don't think they're good enough to be able to implement the HCF instruction in their printers. Pity.

  20. zapgadget

    Moving away from inkjet

    Everyone I know has given up on inkjet printers. As we print less often the nozzles dry up and cause problems. Even on the wonderful Epson ecotanks. We give up on colour printing and just buy a Brother black and white laser printer. Then, however infrequently we print, it just works, and is fantastically inexpensive to run.

  21. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Blame it on "discounted PCs and China"

    So apparently HP really doesn't understand how much it's pissing people off with things like this:

    "HP's net revenue for Q3 was $13.2 billion, down 9.9 percent from the same period last year"

    "For HP's hardy perennial Print products, revenue was $4.3 billion, down 7 percent when compared with the same period last year. This was again blamed on weakened demand in China, as well as aggressive pricing in the consumer print market and delayed enterprise spending in the industrial space"

    So apparently the chickens are coming home to roost, and HP is in DEEP denial.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A while back, I worked at a company that provided travel insurance. I remember when some court case was settled and it said that they didn't have to pay out for some large incident (Icelandic volcano?). Someone in the department of sending emails to staff decided that this triumph should be shared with all of us minions. My natural reaction was that never, ever would I use their travel insurance - even with the staff discount - and that I would strongly advise everyone I didn't hate to avoid them. Because banner-waving over not having to pay out on claims just marks you out as a dick

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Consequences

      Opposite example to reinforce your point:

      I once worked on an amusement park ride (my first job). We had a standing policy that if anyone threw up, they got a full refund. Only once did it ever happen; the customer had just eaten a large meal at the nearby seafood restaurant, apparently wasn't feeling well before going on the ride, and hurled in the bushes afterward. When he stood up, my manager was standing there with the refund in hand - he hadn't even asked.

      That's the RIGHT way to handle such things.

  23. DS999 Silver badge

    I actually prefer my "Instant Ink" subscription

    I pay 99 cents a month because I almost never print, that pays for 15 pages a month. The problem with almost never printing is that the ink cartridges will dry out, but under Instant Ink I can get them replaced if that happens.

    As for why I didn't get a laser printer, color laser printers cost a lot more. I got a multifunction scanner/printer that normally sells for $150 for $50 on closeout, I could pay $12 a year for the rest of my life and not add up to what the equivalent multifunction color laser have cost at the time - and I spent a lot of time looking because that was the option I would have preferred. Someday this thing will quit working, maybe by then color laser printers will be down enough in price.

    1. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: I actually prefer my "Instant Ink" subscription

      > color laser printers cost a lot more

      Do they? I guess no one told Samsung when I bought one of theirs (a CLP 310) for eighty euros brand new retail. OK, it was a few years ago, but that was about the going for a non-disposable inkjet.

      Speaking of which, the only time I ever bought an HP printer it was dead on arrival. Unfortunately "arrival" was about a hundred miles from the point of purchase, so it never made it back. The round trip would have cost much the same as the replacement cost locally.

      The local replacement I chose was a Lexmark S300. That did actually work, but left unused for any time and the jets block so hard that it requires 2 or three deep cleans to get working again. Which just so happen to use up all the remaining ink. I have an ecotank model lined up to supplant it.


      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: I actually prefer my "Instant Ink" subscription

        The pricing situation may be different now it was about 6 or 7 years ago that I bought the inkjet.

  24. jollyboyspecial


    It's a dying business. Businesses just don't print like they used to and the incidence if home printing has fallen off a cliff. Trying to make more money out of a shrinking pool of customers appears to be a ridiculous strategy.

    1. cookieMonster Silver badge

      Re: Printing?

      Totally agree, just this week I got a letter ( yes printed) form a very very large financial institution stating that they were going paperless, and that from January my statement would be digital, something about saving the planet or other such bollox, its about reducing costs/increasing margin. The planet bit is just PR wank for the masses.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I didn't really mind the Ink subscription on HP. The problem was the quality of the printer and software. It would take at least three attempts to actually connect and print anything. In the end I was so frustrated that I disconnected it and smashed it up.

    Once I discovered the Post Office will print my label for me, the need for a printer evaporated.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sometimes they accidentally throw out a good one - provided you are aware of the gotcha's

    I have a perfectly serviceable HP 7740 Officejet.

    It's an A3 machine as I find that handier for layouts and it also has a doublesided scanner for that format, and it's doing well.

    However - the first thing I did before buying it was checking if there were alternative ink suppliers (there were) and the first thing I did after purchase was disable firmware updates, kill off webfunctions and manually set its IP address to one that was not handed out via DHCP so it didn't have a gateway defined. By doing that I have now been using it for 4 years without any problems other than the occasional whinge that the cartridges are not original HP.

    I am not under the illusion it will last as long as the Officejet K550 it replaced which was 12 years old (and still happily working on non-HP ink) when I sold it as I wanted an A3 machine, if for no other reason that the K550 was built like a tank while the A3 thing is a lot of plastic (but its scanner is at least smart - it has two reader strips so it does doublesided scans without needing to flip a page), but as my print volume has dropped I may buy a laser next year. Which is probably going to be a Brother device..

  27. jmch Silver badge

    Upfront cost

    "HP had grown weary of third-party cartridge makers stealing its supplies business. It pledged to charge more upfront for certain printer hardware"

    3rd-party cartridge makers weren't stealing HPs* business, because HP doesn't have a monopoly on that business even though it wishes it does and acts to secure such monopoly. In fact the very existence of 3rd parties that could produce similair-quality ink cartridges at a third of the price shows exactly the rip-off pricing of 'original' cartridges. And HP were deliberately overpricing their cartridges and using that to subsidise their printer sales, which were sold in some cases at below cost exactly to hook customers and lock them in.

    Absolutely no sympathy from my side, and if you're going to charge the true price of the printer (which is not unreasonable by the way), you also got to reduce the cost of the ink. Or, seeing the vastly excessive use of plastics in a cartridge that will last just a few months, maybe just develop a way to make ink refilling cheap, easy and non-messy. Then you'd have a real winner both in terms of revenue (far cheaper to send out inks in large tubs rather than having to manufacture all those cartridges and chips) and in terms of environment.

    *Same could be said for pretty much every other printer maker by the way.

  28. Bebu Silver badge

    Printers are evil...

    As any BOFH will confirm printers are the bane of your existence. Losing responsibility for printing was always in the daily prayers.

    In the days of yore network HP printers were the rule because they were pretty reliable and had decent Mac and Windows driver support and generic postscript for everything else (various unix print systems.) Toner pricing was in the limb amputation category but all genuine toner was then. The bigger printers were per page cheaper for toner. The last HP printer I purchased was a 9000s series monster was to replace another 9000 which decided to have a 'wee lie down.' Of course as soon as the new printer was installed opposite the defunct one it returned from the dead and both were working five years later when I left.

    Ultimately the whole organisation moved to large leased (Ricoh) printers that is pretty much the HP model with per page charges and maintenance fee, but ten years ago. Worked pretty well as the printers phoned home any problems so were fairly well maintained. (Answer to the prayer. :)

    Personally mono lasers - all brothers - cheap, cheap consumables, models with Linux support - none ever died just given away when moving house. Even my current fujixerox docuprint is actually a brother.

    The only HP device I still own is a HP 35s RPN calc which still goes - every other desktop, notebook etc etc carked it pretty much just out of warranty. Buying a HP? Only after a Tesla. And then hell might freeze.

  29. sketharaman

    "Funny how marketing messages change depending on the audience".

    It would be funny if marketing didn't craft different messages for different audiences.

    I've been selling tech for 35+ years. Vendor lockin is an open secret of the IT industry. While vendors may not talk about it openly to customers, they have always been bragging about stickiness / loyalty and other manifestations of lockin to investors for ages.

  30. Knightlie

    Not sure why anyone's really that surprised, these companies haven't even been *trying* to hide their contempt for their customers for a least a decade.

  31. Glenn Amspaugh

    Got in early

    Still using my HP 1000 from 2001 (free from school tech dump after prof offices updated). Toner is $50 a cartridge and that usually lasts 2-3 years.

    Mostly use it for printing transparencies for screen printing and the occasional form requiring a signature. Fully expect this wee beast to outlast me.

    Fark new printer!

  32. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Using old printers via parallel to USB

    As I've posted elsewhere - it will work, but it may be slow. Regardless of the type of USB the chipset used in all the adapters last time I checked is limited to the 'standard' 500Kb/s of parallel.

    A real parallel port with ECP (sadly only available on systems prior to circa 2008) running Windows (Unix does not support ECP, even now) will run up to *forty* times faster at 20Mb/s

    There are EIO network cards available for Laserjets, but they're not all built equal. I have a J7961A which is a reasonable speed for my LaserJet 4000N - the other supported cards are very slow.

    HP still have a supported EIO matrix on their website, and if you dig around on ebay you may find one at a reasonable price, although it was cheaper for me to ship one from the US than purchase in the UK.

    Maintenance kits and toner are dirt cheap too if you're lucky and search around a bit, but if you don't already have a Laserjet or similar it may be easier and more supportive to buy a modern Brother instead.

  33. g7rpo

    I have an HP colour laser sitting on my desk at home, does do much tbh, but in its defence it does everything I need it to.

    It is running on 3rd party cartridges and has no access to the internet so they cant sneak an upgrade in,

    Ill keep it until it dies but cant complain about it so far.

  34. Phil the Geek


    Please consider the environment before buying an HP product to print this message.

    Brother laser printer, fine except for the whining about the aftermarket cartridge.

  35. Nameless Dread

    Oh, Brother ...

    ... Not the universal answer, sadly.

    I have an HL-L2350DW which ghostBSD has never heard of. (Many thanks for mentioning this OS, Liam.)

    Nor has Brother' s site a driver for FreeBSD or GhostBSD

    Even Ghost's recommended alternative driver (HP something or other) doesn't function.

    And yet Linux Mint copes, no bother.

    Perhaps Ghost HQ will wake up some day ...

    1. Tim13

      Re: Oh, Brother ...

      That’s too bad, from what I read the 23xx series does not have PostScript.

      My MFC-9840 is 15 years old, and I can print from my new Mac (M1) color and duplex using a generic PS driver (CUPS) …. Now on my third desktop since 2008, still the same All-in-one. Scanned 2 pages today (vueScan)

  36. Fignuts

    HP, just the latest in a long line

    To paraphrase a well known movie: "The more they tighten their grip, the more customers will slip through their fingers."

    The moment I heard that HP was bricking their multi-function devices (Print/Scan/Copy devices) if they didn't have ink in them was the moment HP became truly dead to me. Use your favorite search engine to look up "HP fails to derail claims that it bricks scanners on multifunction printers when ink runs low" if you haven't heard this whole story before. The last 4 HP computers I've used (thankfully 3 of them were work devices) were so problematic they were sent back, and my company is switching to a different vendor. It makes me wonder what RPM Dave Hewlett and Bill Packard are spinning in their graves.

    It is surprising how little people learn from other companies' avaricious missteps. Xerox had a notorious history of trying to lock people into their products by leasing the device and rigidly enforcing usages patterns, supplies, etc. And just look where that got them. Another good example is Oracle - "Oracle famously doesn't have customers - only hostages" is the old saying; and look at people doing anything they can do to get away from them nowadays. Don't believe me? Search out "Oracle stock suffers steepest drop since 2002 on weak revenue guidance," or look up what Xerox stock price was in 1999 versus today: roughly $100/share in 1999 to roughly $15 now. The slow-motion train-wreck in progress that is so much of what IBM is today paints yet another portrait. I personally can't wait for the moment Microsoft's hubris is similarly rewarded.

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