back to article HP's CEO spells it out: You're a 'bad investment' if you don't buy HP supplies

HP CEO Enrique Lores admitted this week that the company's long-term objective is "to make printing a subscription" when he was questioned about the company's approach to third-party replacement ink suppliers. The PC and print biz is currently facing a class-action lawsuit (from 2.42 in the video below) regarding allegations …

  1. Richard Tobin

    Security

    "We have seen that you can embed viruses into cartridges, through the cartridge go to the printer, from the printer go to the network."

    If this is true, then HP's printers are dangerously insecure by design.

    1. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: Security

      > If this is true, then HP's printers are dangerously insecure by design.

      They are, but HP need the chip in there so that they can detect if you use non-HP cartridges.

    2. TonyHoyle

      Re: Security

      It's bullshit.. a cartridge has about 32 bytes of EPROM containing a serial number and some identifying stuff. It doesn't have a y kind of processor..

      The number of design flaws you'd need in HP printers to make that a security risk is insane and would make HP printers a complete do not buy.

      HP ate just trying to.undrrminr 3rd party cartridges for profit

      1. david1024

        Re: Security

        Agree, and HP printers have been off our corporate buysheets for over a decade.

        There is no technical reason for HP to make the carts smart. However, I think they have done a good job explaining why they want to. At some point customers are going to have to leave them.

        Back when I had an HP printer, I could tell when I was using hp inks because the quality was better. Now I'm not willing to install the spyware drivers they provide. I'm just going to have to hope my ancient laserjet makes it until I no longer need to print at home... Most color jobs I head to a retailer for anyway these days. Printing color at home is really a niche thing IMHO.

      2. Richard Tobin

        Re: Security

        I think it would only take a handful of design flaws. For example, the printer could trust a length field at the start of the serial number, so a malicious chip - even just an EPROM with more than 32 bytes - could provoke a buffer overflow in the printer firmware.

        (I have no reason to suppose that they have such a bug - it's just an example.)

    3. MonkeyJuice

      Re: Security

      Time to landfill all those printers in the field then.To be honest the entire tech media should have run with this headline and watched HP's stock tank hard. That would have been an easy lesson to teach.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Security

        I'm sure the entire tech media have run stories about printers quite frequently. If anyone in the investment world reads them it probably helps keep the share price up. It's not the tech media you need running such stories, it's the media the general public reads.

        1. MonkeyJuice

          Re: Security

          Can't fault your logic there. Today my news feed contains several news outlets clutching their pearls about TSA airport x-rays, akin to the milimetre wave full body scanners we thrashed out in the comments two decades ago...

        2. mark l 2 Silver badge

          Re: Security

          Im fairly sure anyone who reads the tech news, already knows not to buy any HP printers already because of their vast markup of ink prices and shady practices. Its the none techy people who get caught out buying HP printers cos they look inexpensive to buy at the outset, but then you find your stuck with having to shell out another £75 for a new set of carts because the starter carts will only print a handful of pages.

          Whenever friends or family are coming to buy a printer I tell them don't look at the up front cost, look at how much replacement ink is. And don't buy HP!

      2. Mike Friedman

        Re: Security

        Not landfill. They need to be OfficeSpaced first!!!!!!

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. MonkeyJuice

          Re: Security

          A yes. Good times!

    4. RobMo

      Re: Security

      I strongly suspect that… well the charitable interpretation is that he misunderstood someone technical… but he’s wrong shall we say.

      And yes, if true, this absolutely isn’t the flex he thinks it is, either way he’s profoundly ignorant or profoundly guilty of knowingly selling unsafe products.

    5. itsborken

      Re: Security

      Somebody should remind HP that a printer is an output device.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Security

        Surely it's an input device?

        Input money.

  2. abend0c4 Silver badge

    You can embed viruses into cartridges

    "They might even stop your printer working unless you pay a ransom. That's the kind of flagrant ripping off of our IP we need to stamp out.", added the CEO...

    1. simonlb Silver badge

      Re: You can embed viruses into cartridges

      For HP, the IP is all in the print head which is on the cartridge, and nobody else does that so the ink cartridge is exactly that, an ink cartridge. It's then arguable that it's justifiable for HP to charge a bit more for an ink cartridge due to where that IP is, but they've had that same design now for forty years so have massively recouped their initial development costs multiple times over, but during that time their competitors have caught HP up with their own designs and can now beat HP on both print quality and price.

      This isn't about 3rd party ink cartridges and security at all, it's about locking you into the HP ecosystem and to be fair, at least he's being blatantly honest about it so you're not being misled. The issue for HP now is that anyone who is a little tech-savvy will be telling everyone they know to avoid HP's printers like the plague because of the lock-in and implied subscription model. Obviously, that model will work for some and they'll be happy to use that for the convenience. For the rest of us, I can see sales of ecotank style printers taking off massively.

      1. ChrisBedford

        Re: You can embed viruses into cartridges

        For HP, the IP is all in the print head which is on the cartridge

        Yeahhh... I'm not sure that's true. They have for decades been bragging about how "advanced" and "superior" their inks are and I have seen obvious print quality differences between genuine & 3rd party cartridges (although it's not possible to know for sure whether that was because of the ink being better or the heads being worn out since the cartridge may have been refilled, even multiple times). In any event HP and other printer mfrs do hold huge numbers of patents on inks.

        1. hoola Silver badge

          Re: You can embed viruses into cartridges

          To put some context on this I have had over the years:

          Canon

          Kodak

          Epson

          HP

          The canon had separate ink tanks that you could refill (cheap but a pain). Third party filled were also poor & the head clogged up

          Kodak - bought because the ink was cheap - the printer just kept failing

          Epson - bought because it was the best compromise on ink - it worked but got sick of the heads clogging up

          HP - buy any ink - third party was cheaper but the tanks did not last long and clogged

          HP - bought and now used for about 8 years with no issue on Instant Ink.

          Overall (and I know that the HP haters will not like this) the HP with instant ink has cost me far less and has consistently just worked. I don't necessarily agree with the principal of locking the cartridges however my experience is the HP Instant Ink has provided the most reliable and best value.

          1. Donn Bly

            Re: You can embed viruses into cartridges

            Buy a laser, and your print quality will be even better and your cost per page much less. THAT is the most reliable and best value.

          2. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

            Re: You can embed viruses into cartridges

            That's not what people are complaining about. They are complaining about the forced compliance. If HP lived and died on the quality of their cartridges, then that would be fine. If they said, "Sorry, we cannot support your printer nor fix your problem because you used 3rd party cartridges that would be fine.

            What people are mad about is that they are forcing the printers to not function!

      2. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: You can embed viruses into cartridges

        This isn't about 3rd party ink cartridges and security at all, it's about locking you into the HP ecosystem and to be fair, at least he's being blatantly honest about it so you're not being misled.

        In other words, he said the quiet part out loud.

        How Republican is that?

    2. ITMA Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: You can embed viruses into cartridges

      "They might even stop your printer working unless you pay a ransom."

      HP's CEO is not wrong in that statement.

      However, it needs clarifying by stating that the ransomware criminals are in fact HP themselves by holding your printer to ransom and refusing to let you use YOUR PROPERTY if you don't buy their cartridges.

      Someone at HP needs to be prosecuted and go to prison for that. Ideally their CEO.

  3. cornetman Silver badge

    > because you're locking that person, committing to a longer-term relationship.

    I'm surprised that these people don't choose their wording a little more carefully.

    Firstly, because is sounds suspiciously like explicit, monopolistic behaviour.

    Secondly, because it sounds like an abusive, predatory relationship rather than one built on loyalty and symbiosis.

    I really do wonder how many of these C-suite types are literally psychopathic...

    1. NewModelArmy
      Trollface

      On the psychopath angle, here is a link (one of many, apologies it is the daily mail) that indicates that psychopaths index fingers are longer than the wedding ring finger.

      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-12965503/Is-index-finger-shorter-ring-finger-PSYCHOPATH-scientists-say.html

      I've been looking at the political programmes on TV to see if the Tory MPs hands have their index finger longer than the wedding ring finger.

      So far, it is 10/10 that Tories are psychopaths.

      :O)

      1. Mr Sceptical
        Boffin

        Testosterone

        Biologist here, ring finger length relative to index is an indicator of testosterone exposure in the womb, with a direct correlation to athletic performance.

        E.g. longer ring fingers are faster sprinters, which the Fail article confirms.

        Sounds like the psychologists were trying to fit their argument to the data, it was a tiny sample size.

        So, is Usain Bolt a psychopath?

        1. Natalie Gritpants Jr

          Re: Testosterone

          He's difficult to catch so fits the scandi TV psyco profile

        2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Testosterone

          My ring finger is longer than my index finger. I'm a sh*t sprinter. Perhaps leg length also comes into it?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Testosterone

          Counter-example, my ring finger is about 10mm longer than my index finger, and my athletic performance in any endeavor is pretty terrible.

          OTOH, I don't think I'm a psychopath, so I got that goin for me!

      2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
        Joke

        Finger Length

        My ring-finger length is just slightly shorter than my index finger.

        But my middle finger is substantially-longer than any of my other fingers. :-)

        (Caveat: I am not in management, nor in politics.)

      3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        As fingers can spread out they can move a small amount sideways. Flatten your hand and move all the fingers to one side then the other. One way, index finger is longer than ring and the other ring is longer than index.

        [set stupidity=Daily Mail]Be careful though, leave your fingers on the wrong side an you will instantly become psychotic.[set stupidity=normal]

        1. Screwed

          Even if I do as you suggest, and move my fingers left and right as far as I can without being painful, my ring fingers are longer than my index fingers. (I do mean the ring finger on each hand, not both the ring fingers on my third hand.)

          Any relationship with athletic performance, however, has passed me by entirely.

          As for being psychotic, I'm really not the one to judge.

    2. jgarbo
      Devil

      "Nice little printer you got there. Shame if something bad happened to it..." Right out of The Sopranos.

      1. old_n_grey

        > "Nice little printer you got there. Shame if something bad happened to it..." Right out of The Sopranos.

        The Sopranos??? Us old wrinklies would suggest something somewhat older. How about from Monty Python, December 1969

        Luigi: You've... you've got a nice army base here, Colonel.

        Colonel: Yes.

        Luigi: We wouldn't want anything to happen to it.

        1. MonkeyJuice

          Well. You know. Fings break. Dunt they?

    3. Zibob

      "I really do wonder how many of these C-suite types are literally psychopathic..."

      I have been forming the idea based on reading articles like this that it is actually a requirement for C levels to be sociopathic/psychopathic because they lack the empathy and understanding of general users. They only see a single point of reference and if that doesn't go up they will do whatever is in their warped minds because it makes the money, which keeps the investors happy, and the company existing.

      Its doesn't matter if the C leveler is putting the company of a track to oblivion, as long as the line goes up while the current investors are there. Once they got theirs they'll dip. Hand off the dumpster fire to the next psycho and let them either descend further in the customer screwing madness or wind up the company.

      On to the next one..

  4. tfewster
    Facepalm

    Strange words

    That's an odd use of the word "investment", unless printer hardware is a loss-leader to get users to buy consumables. And in that case, I'd use the word "con", making customers think they're getting a good deal when the cost per page is a rip off.

    The IP argument is pretty weak too, the ink formulation or delivery system may be IP but they're not checking for that, they're checking for a HP-branded chip. If I want to put cheap ink in MY printer and run the risk of wrecking it, that's between me and the ink supplier.

    1. jfw25

      Re: Strange words

      I can definitely reassure HP that they need not worry in the slightest about wasting any of their investment capital on me. I will not, at any time, ever be buying an HP printer.

      And that's despite the fact that I usually do buy the manufacturer's ink for printers, because I just don't trust what random crap has been put into a cartridge by a "manufacturer" whose company name is a randomly assigned string of 5 letters...

      1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

        Re: Strange words

        There are many perfectly reputable brands of third-party ink/toner that have been around for many years, selling quality products that work just as well as manufacturer-branded products at a fraction of the cost. Yes, on a site like Amazon or other marketplaces where anybody can sell anything, you'll find a lot of junk that is even cheaper from companies that were just registered 3 days ago and won't exist 2 days from now, but there are also good third-party brands there as well as brands that have their own sites.

        There is virtually no manufacturer-branded ink/toner that is priced to match the quality difference that it may have over third-party ink (10% better quality doesn't even deserve 25% higher price, let alone 300%), at least in the consumer space and for businesses just printing random items that don't need to be perfect or last forever. Obviously niche applications use specialized ink/toner with special requirements which third-party makers might not meet due to the added costs and low volume. The simple fact that liquid ink will dry out if not used regularly, often disabling the printer itself, makes it absolutely stupid to spend extra for manufacturer-branded ink (beyond the poor value of inkjet to start with).

      2. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Strange words

        >...by a "manufacturer" whose company name is a randomly assigned string of 5 letters...

        Ah, I see you, too, have shopped on Amazon recently.

        I just searched, for example purposes, for a Thinkpad battery.

        Guess which one of these isn't a "real" company name?

        Ouwee, Jiazijia, Laqueena, Antiee, Jotact

        Trick question! They're all purveyors of replacement "genuine" batteries with suspiciously-identical stock photography!

        1. TurtleBeach

          Re: Strange words

          Funny you should mention batteries. There was a time I would only buy HP laptops, but my purchase a few years ago will be my last. A mid-to-high end ENVY with core i7 and 17" screen. After about a year, the battery failed (actually had been failing: when I finally truly bit the dust, the couple of loud 'pops' I had heard over a period of 3-4 months but could never explain, turned out to have been capacitors). BUT when I tried to find an HP replacement, there were none - the link to batteries on the HP site for the specific model went to a generic 'not found' page, and nowhere else could I find one specifically for the unit I had. So I finally bought a 'brand x' battery. Now, every time I reboot, I get a warning that a non-HP battery has been detected. And the reboot will not proceed without physically pressing a key.

          Other quality issues (symbols on 6 keys smudged within 6-8 months; HDMI port will not drive an external monitor) are irritating but not yet preventing me from using the laptop; but I've learned my lesson with HP junk. Fool me once or twice or 3 times, shame on me, but eventually I learn.

    2. Not Yb Bronze badge

      Re: Strange words

      It's exactly their mentality of considering the customer as the main thing the company should "invest" in that leads HP to this.

      Sell good/great products at fair prices works for many companies, but HP wants to squeeze customers for all they're worth.

    3. simonlb Silver badge

      Re: Strange words

      HP did actually bring out a pretty good all-in-one unit about 10 or 11 years ago; worked very well, easy to sidestep the 1+Gb of crapware the install disc tried to ram onto your system, individual ink cartridges (6 in total I think), but each was priced at about £5 each which was excellent value at the time.

      After less than 2 years the ink cartridge price tripled. You can guess what happened next...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Strange words

        It has all gone downhill since the LaserJet 4. That was an impressive piece of kit.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Strange words

          And the LJ4, as long as it's fed maintenance kits on the regular, is likely still chugging along.

          The engine on the 4si was good for about 2-3 million pages before it needed an overhaul, as long as you kept up on the maintenance kits for the beast.

          I will note that [RedactedCo] at one point had a 4250 with 2 mil on the counter back in 2007 or so; the department that had it probably ran a box of paper through it every month. (they ended up getting their own copier that was used to handling that volume a few years later.)

  5. gecho

    HP Toner

    I bought a color HP printer back around 2006 on sale for under $400. Today a set of official HP toner cartridges would come to $1100. A set of refilled cartridges is about $200. Crazy price spread. I've had a few problem cartridges over the years so I've been keeping a few known good ones around to swap out rollers and the printer is still doing fine after 22,000 pages. I think toner is priced for businesses who are less likely to care since they can use it as an expense for tax purposes.

    1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

      Re: HP Toner

      HP was still selling reasonably good printer products around that time period, at least laser printers. Ones that weren't deliberately crippled, designed to be discarded after a short period of use, or sold at a loss to make it up on the consumables (though the supplies were still overpriced), and they were never modified to disable third-party supplies. People are still buying and using Laserjet 5 monochrome printers, first introduced in the mid-90s, and there are still replacement parts made for them. And their print quality is exactly as good as new model monochrome printers, just not up to the speed of good new ones.

      You are probably due for an imaging drum replacement, though, if you haven't changed that before. :-)

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: HP Toner

        2d owner of my LJ5. It was abandoned on the doorstep of a law office in town, free for the taking (which I did).

        I watched Youtube, ordered a replacement fuser assy ($150) and drive gears ($30), upgraded the RAM and installed a JetDirect network card I found on eBay ($15) and a new (refilled) toner cartridge. Thing has been printing like a champ for several years, always there when I need it, draws 7W on standby. I have not yet used up the first cartridge I bought, but I have three more sealed NOS I bought at Goodwill for $15 each. The thing, I am positive, will outlive me.

        1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

          Re: HP Toner

          LJ5 (and LJ4) printers were so amazing and ubiquitous that just about every current printer will work just fine if you use the LaserJet 5 driver to print to them. Just without any special features or specific controls.

      2. RedGreen925

        Re: HP Toner

        "People are still buying and using Laserjet 5 monochrome printers"

        I bought one of them and it worked well for years. By the time I needed new one couple of years ago all this chip foolishness had started and I moved on to a decent printer brand which does not hold you hostage like HPs do. They will never get a single cent of my money again.

        1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

          Re: HP Toner

          I doubt they were getting any of your money for some time anyway as they stopped manufacturing those types of printers a long time ago and moved the name onto the shittier models. They simply lasted so long that with some maintenance parts made by third-parties, the original ones continued to work and could be re-sold over and over again, even with warranties when they were refurbished. HP may possibly have gotten some few cents out of licensing to be able to make parts but nothing significant, and I'm sure they hated having to allow it since it meant they weren't selling more of their newer printers, and those have been off patent for quite a while now so they haven't made any money at all for nearly a decade.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: HP Toner

          "I moved on to a decent printer brand which does not hold you hostage like HPs do."

          What brand is that? I may be jaded, but i thought Canon, and Brother also force updates to waste non complaint carterages.

          Who wants to start a class action suit under "right to repair" laws??????

          1. J. Cook Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: HP Toner

            The brother color laser MFP that I have only whines that I've put a non-OE cart in, but it doesn't brick itself, and I've been getting the expected lifespan out of the carts.

            :: puts on printer tech hat ::

            For the record, every color laser printer I've ever work on, or with, is largely a stack of consumable items stuff into a frame with the electronics to drive it all.

            the toner, the fuser/fixing module, the image drum(s), the image transfer belt- those are all consumable items, and any of them can cause a quality issue. I think the most exotic color laser I've ever dealt with were the 'carousel' style units (HP CLJ 4500, and a Kyocera model that I forget the name of) that had the carts on a rotating carousel that built up the image one toner at a time over four passes.

            And the wax crayon Tektronix Phaser was even more exotic- 20 minute warm up from cold start that burned a set of the crayons during the warmup, but once it was warmed up, it could crank out full bleed color page in 6 seconds and it was quality. (unless you did something stupid like force a black crayon into the yellow hole, which is why the crayons were different shapes.)

            wonderful printer, but horrifically expensive to buy and feed.

        3. RAMChYLD

          Re: HP Toner

          I had a Laserjet 5M and it worked great for many years.

          What failed was the plastic case, it became brittle and broke into a million pieces when I took it down to give it a clean. Also, the fuser pretty much gave up at around the same time. Obviously using trash can plastic isn't doing HP any favors.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: HP Toner

      Laserjet 3020 AIO here. The HP badge looks to be more solidly engineered than some of the later models I've seen. It doesn't get much use these days as it's supplemented by a Brother with colour and 2-sided printing. Even so, it would probably have outlasted me.

      1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

        Re: HP Toner

        Laser printers in general are more solidly built and better designed than inkjets as the people buying them generally do expect to be doing a lot more with them and are often businesses. They also just have a lot more moving parts and electronics than an inkjet so they kind of have to be otherwise they'd be falling apart at an even faster rate and couldn't justify the increased up-front cost.

        1. Not Yb Bronze badge

          Re: HP Toner

          Monochrome laser electronics are similar in complexity, if not simpler because they don't have to track ink levels. The moving parts are in some ways simpler, because moving the printhead back and forth isn't really needed, they just spin things up in the laser compartment and let the optics do the work.

          They do have high voltage components, and as someone who's worked in printer design, that's probably what leads to the better build quality. Cheap plastic works fine for the 12 volts most inkjets have as maximum internal power, but not at the several kV that lasers' xerographic mechanism requires.

          1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

            Re: HP Toner

            Don't have to track ink levels? They still have to track toner level. Tracking 4, whether it's ink or color toner, instead of 1 is a matter of adding more a few more copper traces, and obviously having the extra physical slots, not a lot more complexity. (And the shitty inkjets that use a single color cartridge are even less.) And plastic casings and frameworks have nothing to do with what voltage levels the wiring can handle. And laser printers still have limited amperage since they plug into the same standard power outlet. I've disassembled laser printers and they have WAY more components, even a monochrome.

          2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: HP Toner

            "maximum internal power"

            maximum internal voltage. Not power.

        2. TonyHoyle

          Re: HP Toner

          It's not really true any more.. LED printers aren't significantly more expenisve than inkjets, and have the advantage that they don't brick if you don't use them for a while (inkjets dry up, which means head replacement, and many models, including HP, that means a new printer.. it was precisely that happening that had me swear off HP, and inkjets, for good).

          I've got a Colour Brother that although it wasn't the cheapest around, was a good investment and works first time every time I print to it, even if it's been months.

          1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

            Re: HP Toner

            A basic color inkjet printer, which these days always includes scanner/copier functionality with wireless connectivity or USB, is $40. This is what a home user is going to go to the store and take a look at, and they'll buy it because it sounds like it does what they need with no obvious downsides since they don't know what happens with liquid ink cartridges or how expensive they are.

            https://www.walmart.com/ip/HP-DeskJet-2752e-All-in-One-Wireless-Color-Inkjet-Printer-with-3-Months-Free-Ink-Included-with-HP/651507182 (this even includes in the description that it will only work with HP ink, and that they WILL update the firmware to enforce that)

            LED printers are basically a dead technology at the low end. The cheapest ones I can find are $500. The cheapest decent single-function monochrome lasers are still $100, and for color it's $200. (I just found an $80 Canon on Amazon that's got the "frequently returned item" warning on it.) Add $25 for multi-function but that's making the other parts cheap. A good color laser is absolutely a great investment in my opinion even for a home user due to the high cost of ink compared to toner based on page count and the short lifespan of liquid cartridges and the odds of the ink ruining the printer itself, and the absorbent pads that they don't tell you about replacing.

            I have a 4 year old Canon printer that I'm still using the starter toner cartridges with. Maybe $300 or $400 but I forget where I bought it. I still consider that to have been a good value as it's amazing for home use and I expect it to last a long time AND I can repair it (probably), but a home user is going to look at that and think there's no way printing should cost so much. Even a "high-end" inkjet with the full feature-set equal to my Canon is only $150 or less.

            I did have a Xerox color laser previously that was even cheaper, only like $150, and something in it failed after only 2 years and despite having done laser printer repair in the past, I couldn't even get the stupid thing taken apart to find out what was wrong because of the way they designed it, intentionally preventing repair.

            1. ITMA Silver badge

              Re: HP Toner

              "LED printers are basically a dead technology at the low end"

              How is LED a dead technology?

              The fundamental printing process is identical to laser, except the opto-mechanical laser scanning system is replaced by a solid state (no moving parts) LED array.

              Just because some manufacturers appear to build down to a price point at which, fundamentally, it is shit quality doesn't mean the technology (LED) is dead. It means they are making, and you are buying cheap shit that just doesn't work.

              1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

                Re: HP Toner

                "At the low end" is the key point, and I don't just mean "cheap trash", only inexpensive. Despite seeming to be a cheaper way to make more reliable printers, they all stopped making really inexpensive ones using LEDs, unless like Brother they use misleading marketing to call them "laser" printers. Maybe it's because they're more reliable so they won't fail as often and need to be replaced. But my laser printers have mostly worked just fine, despite being cheaper than LED printers, and the price difference makes the failure rate more than acceptable. LED printers also do have some drawbacks compared to lasers, so they're not universally better.

                Brother doesn't even really admit that they make LED printers. They call them "laser quality" printers, or list them as "laser/LED", and they cost at least $100 more for the same feature set as a laser. Xerox's cheapest LED printer is $950 on their site meant for 15-person workgroups.

                1. Orv Silver badge

                  Re: HP Toner

                  I think LED page printers went out of fashion because laser printer mechanisms became cheap enough to overtake them. Probably due to higher volume; LED printers were never a big part of the market.

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    malware to be introduced via print cartridges

    Surely it's already been introduced by HP? And the way to stop anyone else introducing it is very simple: don't include parts in the cartridge that the printer needs to talk to.

    1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

      Re: malware to be introduced via print cartridges

      Even if the cartridge does have a chip that is used to identify whether it's HP-branded or not, WHY should any of the code in the printer EXECUTE any code from the chip?! Why should it get loaded into memory in any way that is transmitted to the computer?! Why should the printer driver be able to load a VIRUS onto the computer?

      1. VicMortimer Silver badge

        Re: malware to be introduced via print cartridges

        It shouldn't be legal to put a brand-detecting chip in a toner cartridge in the first place. Toner cartridges do not need chips.

        1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

          Re: malware to be introduced via print cartridges

          As long as it's made very clear right up-front that it will only work with brand-name or properly licensed cartridges, so that people know they will not be able to get anything cheaper, I don't see a need to make it illegal. It's a customer's choice if they want to buy a product that is limited in that way. But I'm talking a large label with high contrast on every side of the package, a clear statement in any text, audio or video marketing (not fast-talking or small print), legal requirements for any online sellers like Amazon that the listing must clearly describe the limitation, so that it's known before purchase, then clear information in the manual, a sticker on the device, a popup message when installing drivers, and no arguments if an opened device is returned unused. But any company that tried that, like selling a car with a clear statement that you can only use Hyundai brand gasoline, would never make a sale. And obviously modifying the product at a later date so that it's not possible should be illegal.

          1. Not Yb Bronze badge

            Re: malware to be introduced via print cartridges

            It used to be legal (in the USA) to sell cars that required fluids sold only by the manufacturer of the car in order to keep warranty valid. This was made illegal very soon after car manufacturers started taking advantage of it, and is still illegal.

            So the idea of the "Hyundai brand gasoline"? It has already been tried on motor oil (and they're trying again with "Dexos" brand).

            For (way more info than you need) see the Magnuson-Moss Warranty act, 1975.

        2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: Toner cartridges do not need chips

          They might need a code on them to indicate colour if it's a colour printer (eg, are you plugging a yellow cartridge into the yellow hole?), but this is easiest implemented by a label on the cartridge with a relatively low tech means to detect and interpret the code. This ISTR is what film cameras had on them so that the camera could detect what ISO film had been plugged in. I believe Xerox use this technique too for their printers, but I'll spare you the anecdote.

          It should not be possible to have executable code embedded in the cartridge. Whoever designed it like that (-er- HP?) clearly doesn't understand what can go wrong. The only thing I can think of where only data is stored in a chip and for it to cause problems is if the code has got impossible values in it. Of course, when validating code from external sources you do validate it properly, including the "don't cares", don't you? If an impossible code value takes an app down a rabbit hole, HP can't blame anyone but themselves. Both scenarios are down to HP designers, so don't give me that bull about HP protecting people from malware.

          What is more likely to be exploitable are the Ports used in printing, but HP presumably is adding to that footprint by utilising ports for Instant Ink functionality (I'm guessing).

          1. ArrZarr Silver badge

            Re: Toner cartridges do not need chips

            There's a simpler mechanical way to solve this issue - a magenta cartridge should only fit in the magenta hole, a cyan cartridge should only fit in the cyan hole etc.

            There's probably a good reason why it's not done this way (something something, one cartridge production line to rule them all), but in my experience, printers which have a black cartridge and a colour cartridge already use this philosophy - you cannot put the colour cartridge in the black slot or the black cartridge in the colour slot.

            1. J. Cook Silver badge

              Re: Toner cartridges do not need chips

              There are both colored marks and plastic nubbies on the cart bays for that purpose, and if you manage to force the thing anyway, you've likely broken the cart and the printer, and that's an assembly that's stupidly expensive to replace. (as in "replace the entire unit, ya numpty!" expensive)

              Or else, the cart's chip tells the printer what color it's assigned to, and the printer won't work unless they are all installed in the correct slots.

      2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: malware to be introduced via print cartridges

        I was wondering about how to execute code from such a chip: my thought was that the obvious way to do this would be to send some randomish number to the chip, which performs some transformation magic and sends it back; if the printer gets back the (transformed) code it's expecting, then it's happy. So in that scenario, perhaps the rogue chip returns a lot more data, crashes the stack, and executes something on the return?

        It would still need to get something into the printer's system that could be executed... but of course, since everything is unnecessarily connected to the intarwebs these days...

        1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

          Re: malware to be introduced via print cartridges

          Yeah, some sort of buffer overflow COULD be the way it happens, with the shitty programming and security that happens today. In which case HP is complaining about how they keep getting robbed when they leave all the doors and windows on the house open and a big sign on the lawn that says "We're on vacation until xx/xx/xx." But to then actually transfer that data into the computer's OS? Or even to be able to run code that does anything useful (to a hacker) within the printer's own OS, when the thing may have like 2MB of RAM, and who knows what kind of proprietary OS they're running? And man, that is some serious dedication to violating a printer to actually create a custom chip with enough code to infect anything else with malware and create a printer cartridge company to sell them into the world, or even if it just means finding such a small vendor and violating their security and being able to modify their own chip designs to do it. I think HP is both exaggerating the interest anybody would have in all that effort for so little potential return while at the same time pointing out to people just how shoddy their own work is that would even allow it to happen through all those hurdles on a device that should never be doing anything remotely capable of it happening, just to create an artificial barrier to people having a choice in their consumables.

          1. Not Yb Bronze badge

            Re: malware to be introduced via print cartridges

            I was curious, so checked google for "HP printer cartridge locks printer with ransomware", and the only results I found were people complaining about HP keeping the printer from printing, not any actual ransomware stories.

            1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

              Re: malware to be introduced via print cartridges

              But I'm sure HP is just looking out for the consumer, blocking the POTENTIAL for such an infection through this restriction! They can't help that the potential avenue for infection was created by them!

        2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: perhaps the rogue chip returns a lot more data,

          Boundary conditions/buffer overflows. If HP designers can't validate for these then the damage is self-inflicted.

          They dictated the complexity by designing it in in the first place.

  7. Philo T Farnsworth

    Subscription?

    "Our objective is to make printing as easy as possible, and our long-term objective is to make printing a subscription."

    Unsubscribe.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: "to make printing a subscription"

      Simple unambiguous solution: stop selling printers, provide them free (like ISPs and routers) when someone signs up to an ink subscription.

      Today it’s ink on subscription, tomorrow it will also be (HP) paper on subscription…

      1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

        Re: "to make printing a subscription"

        Printer manufacturers DO have subscription services for ink and paper already. Inkjet printers are on the verge of free at this point, priced to where they're basically just paying for the shipping it took to get them to the store. They are basically just covering the minimal cost, possibly even selling at a loss, in order to make people FEEL like they're not being locked in and are just buying a product with no strings attached. Then they control what cartridges you can use, and price direct cartridge purchases so high that a subscription actually makes sense for some people. (And companies love subscriptions with predictable income.) Some of them aren't even exactly ink/toner subscriptions, you're actually just paying for the number of pages you print, and you may not even BUY the printer, which is common in the business world but they moved them to the consumer space as well.

        HP Instant Ink with Paper Add-on Service

        Brother Refresh EZ Print Subscription

        Epson ReadyPrint (may be defunct and may have had some value with their EcoTank printers)

        Canon PIXMA Print Plan and Auto Replenishment Service

        1. Not Yb Bronze badge

          Re: "to make printing a subscription"

          HP is the only one (that I know of) actively blocking use of 3rd-party cartridges by pretending they're massive security risks. The security message just says "cartridge error" after a while, and refuses to print until you update to another 3rd-party cartridge that gets around the new block somehow.

          The rest may warn "using 3rd party cartridges will lead to poor print quality", but I've not seen news stories about them blocking use completely like HP.

          1. Not Yb Bronze badge

            Re: "to make printing a subscription"

            I take it back, Brother has definitely gotten into the "make the printer worse if you use 3rd party ink" bandwagon... by purposefully misaligning their laser printers if you use 3rd party toner.

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Re: "to make printing a subscription"

              Fortunately, my ancient black and white Brother 2150N continues to print without caring what third party toner cartridge goes in, every five or six years. Now if only I could persuade the cartridge suppliers that actually, thank you, I *don't* need another cartridge every couple of weeks...

            2. J. Cook Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: "to make printing a subscription"

              As an interested party, do you have a link to back up that statement?

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: "to make printing a subscription"

          My point was, if you want it to be a restrictive subscription the. Don’t mislead people by selling the printer.

          Remember whilst many cheap mobile phones are locked to a network, there is a reasonable expectation they can be unlocked, via completion of contract or payment of a fee.

          Yes, I’m aware of the HP paper add-on Service, currently the printer does not perform any paper detection, hence you are free to use third-party papers. Following the logic of the ink subscription, we can expect a future HP printer to scan every sheet of paper to confirm it was supplied by HP…

          Personally, it is looking increasingly likely my next aid/printer will be a Konica Minolta/DEVELOP device…

    2. Displacement Activity

      Re: Subscription?

      Wouldn't touch HP with a bargepole but, actually, subscription can work incredibly well.

      I'm self-employed and have been buying lasers for over 30 years. I've always been screwed on cartridges, so on my current Brother MFC-L3770CDW I get the supplies on subscription. I'm charged 0.124 GBP per colour page, and 0.019 B&W. The stuff just magically appears in the post when I need it (the printer's got to be online, and so is in the DMZ).

      Before this, I was running on about 24p/page, for just the cartridge cost, for a 65/35 colour/BW split (my wife likes printing out web pages in colour). This would be 8.7p/page on the subscription, ie. a saving of over 60%, even before taking into account free drums/whatever. My total annual cost in now about £150+VAT.

      On that 24p/page figure: I know it seems high, but I kept running totals for years. There were years when I was paying as little as 14p/page, with a small mix of 3rd-party cartridges, but I don't think I've seen less than 20p/page for several years now.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "third-party cartridges with reprogrammable chips"

    The problem is not with 3rd party reprogrammable chips.

    The problem is with the nutjobs that thought that joining an ink cartridge with a chip was a good idea in the first place.

    It's ink. It doesn't need a chip.

    Not unless you're a Nazi.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: "third-party cartridges with reprogrammable chips"

      Well, there is an argument for it having a few bytes of EEPROM containing data like it's model number, when it was refilled, initial volume and colour.

      So the cartridge manufacturer can more easily refill it.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: "third-party cartridges with reprogrammable chips"

        A bar code could do that.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Not Yb Bronze badge

          Re: "third-party cartridges with reprogrammable chips"

          (Much) older inkjets just had a clear section of plastic for a light to shine through to determine when the cartridges were low. Much cheaper, but HP can't sell a use-based subscription to ink if the only check is "does light go through this or not".

    2. Displacement Activity

      Re: "third-party cartridges with reprogrammable chips"

      The problem is with the nutjobs that thought that joining an ink cartridge with a chip was a good idea in the first place.

      It's ink. It doesn't need a chip.

      If you're taking about inkjet... it's not like dipping your quill in an inkpot. It actually does need a lot of electronics. You've got to generate small globs of ink. I don't know the physical details, but people are willing to pay me for the electronics, so I guess they know what they're doing.

  9. Orv Silver badge

    On the one hand, HP should let me use whatever I want in their printers. On the other hand, every refilled toner cartridge I've ever bought turned out to be complete junk -- I was usually lucky to get 1/4 the service life for 2/3 the price of a "genuine" cartridge. So I just can't get too worked up about this, given that refilled cartridges seem to be complete scams.

    1. captain veg Silver badge

      I'm very, very far from being an HP fanboi, but I don't get the downvotes to this post. If you find HP cartridges to be worth the money, and some do, feel free to buy them

      I don't, and I won't.

      -A.

      1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

        Downvotes are because it's one person applying their poor experience to everyone else on the planet, despite almost everyone else having a good experience. There are plenty of very good third-party, remanufactured and refilled cartridges, which cost FAR less than 2/3 the price of the brand-name cartridges and last as long or longer than the brand-name. Decades ago before all this chip stuff started, I used brands that deliberately refilled beyond an original cartridge because there is a lot of empty space in them to make it look like you're getting more than you are. (Not to mention the kits that let you refill them yourself, but that was too much of a messy hassle.)

        There ARE many shitty cartridges out there as well, but that's what happens when you don't pay attention to what you're buying. Anybody that paid 2/3 the price for a lower capacity cartridge was being stupid, and in many cases just going with the OEM brand is a better idea because it avoids any risk.

        A single toner cartridge for my previous Xerox printer is $11 third-party, versus $77 from Xerox, and it worked exactly as well and had the same capacity. A full set for my current Canon is $70 third-party, versus $255 Canon-branded. Haven't had to buy any yet. I'm still at 30-40% on the starter cartridges after nearly 5 years. Good luck getting that with an inkjet, even with brand new full-size cartridges that would have been dried out within a month at that rate of printing and and would have ruined the printer (or at least messed it up to the point that the cost to repair it was as much to replace it).

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      My local printer leasing company I had dealings with use third party toner cartridges, they’ve not had any problems, so suspect you need to investigate your sourcing…

      It is notable they don’t supply HP printers unless the customer explicitly asks for them, their preference is DEVELOP…

      1. Orv Silver badge

        I sourced the last one from Office Depot, not some random site, so I assumed it'd be legit. It started streaking almost immediately. The problem is they don't replace the imaging drum portion of the cartridge, they just refill it with toner powder, so you're always getting someone else's worn-out drum.

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Streaking may be the high voltage charge wire running parallel to the drums. Try cleaning those.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Malware solution:

    Don't put a chip on the cartridge! Make them like my Brother MFC-240c, which uses "cartridges" that are just little ink tanks, no electronics at all.

    Of course, I put in aftermarket cartridges that cost me $1 each instead of the $15 official ones.

    They could do this, but it would require a considerable correction of their business model, namely:

    1. Make and sell a good-quality printer, at an appropriate cost (manufacturing cost + profit)

    2. Make and sell ink at a sane cost

    1. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: Malware solution:

      This exists. It's called EcoTank.

      -A.

  11. Ball boy Silver badge

    A virus going from ink tank to network? Yep.

    The tank talks to the printer which talks to the the print driver and onto the client-side app. That then checks with HQ to make sure you're being a good boy.

    Yep, I can totally see why that could be described as a virus - and I can also totally see a certain manufacturer designing their products to take full advantage of it for financial gain. Way to go Enrique Lores; you win the Internet today for making it clear to us all!

  12. Grumpy Rob

    You can't be serious!! (shouted John McEnroe style)

    This whole thing makes my head spin. What planet are we on, where people can make statements that are complete bullshit and not get laughed off the stage? If the media were doing their job properly statements like this would be labelled complete bullshit, rather then just parroting what is said by the CEO/politician/etc..

    1. Yorick Hunt Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: You can't be serious!! (shouted John McEnroe style)

      "If the media were doing their job properly..."

      They'd get sacked, incarcerated or assassinated. Such is the "lovely" world we live in.

      Never forget though that these were the same people who told us our microwave ovens, toasters and fridges would cease functioning on the 1st of January 2000, because they had "microchips."

      1. MonkeyJuice

        Re: You can't be serious!! (shouted John McEnroe style)

        Last I heard, it was not routine to run COBOL on an MCU.

      2. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: You can't be serious!! (shouted John McEnroe style)

        Mmmm, no they didn't.

        I dare say that today they exist, but even 24 years later I'm yet to encounter a toaster or fridge containing a "microchip" and I actively avoid microwaves that interact with anything more than two dials and a door release.

        -A.

        1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

          Re: You can't be serious!! (shouted John McEnroe style)

          Many do contain microchips, that's how a microwave's electronic controls work, even if they aren't "online" and "AI", but they don't care about the date or even know what it might be.

          1. captain veg Silver badge

            Re: You can't be serious!! (shouted John McEnroe style)

            What would be the point? A thermostat requires precisely no code.

            -A.

            1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

              Re: You can't be serious!! (shouted John McEnroe style)

              A digital one does.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We have seen that you can embed viruses into cartridges.

    Pull the other one: it's got bells on. There'd be precisely zero risk of a malware infection IF THERE WERE NO BLOODY CHIPS IN CARTRIDGES IN THE FIRST PLACE!

    And why are the chips there? The only reason?

    Fuckwits.

  14. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    Old vs New HP

    Hang on to your old, reliable, pre-"IP-mentality" HP laser printers, and refurbish them as needed.

    With the current crop of HP printers, you risk having your device bricked if HP decides you're a "bad investment." Would HP do this? Dunno. Could HP do this? Yes, they could.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Old vs New HP

      Have HP done this before? Yes.

      Nae king, nae quin, we willnae be fooled agin!

      1. Not Yb Bronze badge

        Re: Old vs New HP

        Is this the reason I haven't updated the firmware in our HP printer for several years? Yes.

        I do appreciate the relative longevity of the printer, and thank HP for making it good enough to work long enough to make a subscription a possibility.

        In a kind of "thanks for this business model, I won't be following it EVER, and once this printer dies I'm buying a different brand" sort of way.

      2. Evil Scot
        Headmaster

        Re: Old vs New HP

        You forgot "Obligatory Pratchett Reference"

  15. Bebu Silver badge
    Windows

    Retarded, or What?

    "Every time a customer buys a printer, it's an investment for us. We are investing in that customer, and if that customer doesn't print enough or doesn't use our supplies, it's a bad investment."

    This pretty much reverses the customer-supplier roles but certainly attempts to redefine the meaning of the word "buys" to something like "to rent" or "to license."

    If I were to purchase a 1000 of his printers and sent them directly to landfill or component recyclers, precious metal recovery etc he is saying HP is making a loss. Poor didums. Don't blame the unfortunate HP printer purchaser for your crap business model.

    I would laugh if some enterprising soul in a less developed part of the world started producing "libre" printers from parts obtained by deconstructing new or relatively new HP printers. Someone noted previously that in Brazil they had cobbled large external ink tanks on to printers.

    "Just say no" to quote Nancy Reagan's slogan for her war on drugs. The analogy between HP ink subscriptions and narcotics addiction isn't too farfetched.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Retarded, or What?

      I wonder what the cost comparison per ounce is between HP ink and, say, heroin.

      1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

        Re: Retarded, or What?

        Heroin is sold by the gram, and one recent page says 1 gram (10 doses) is $60 to $100, or a kilo for 10,000 doses is $50k to $100k. Hard to units of weight to units of volume, and doses to pages printed per mL. Typical inkjet cartridges only have 8mL or less (and that's an XL) and print 300 pages.

        https://boingboing.net/2009/12/30/graph-compares-price.html

        https://www.consumerreports.org/printers/the-high-cost-of-wasted-printer-ink/

        Both of those seem to be off, because $0.70 per mL, or $13 to $95 per ounce, would make a cartridge only cost $4 to $25 at the highest, and no OEM ink cartridge has ever cost $4. A cheap cartridge these days, or even in 2018, was $30 to $40 and that would be lower than average volume. If we call it a 5mL cartridge that's $6 per mL or $176 per ounce. Gasoline at $5 per gallon is $0.04 per ounce. Crude oil is $0.015 right now.

        Anyway, $60 worth of heroin would be a lot more fun than $60 worth of printer ink, and given the way ink is wasted during use and dries out if unused, the heroin might last longer. And you'd probably regret the heroin less.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Retarded, or What?

          >” and no OEM ink cartridge has ever cost $4.”

          But the ink in the cartridge?

          What you have highlighted is the cost of cartridges.

          Compatible ink for an HP-971 can be had for £62+vat per litre, ie. 6.2p per ml. Difficult to do a comparison as HP only rate their cartridges by number of pages.

          Whilst this specific bag of ink is compatible with the OctoInkjet BagCIS, decanting this into 8ml cartridges (at scale) and distributing said cartridges is going to cost. I doubt a cartridge is as cheap as a plastic zipper bag (100 for £1.50).

          1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

            Re: Retarded, or What?

            The wholesale cost of bulk ink (OEM or generic) is kind of irrelevant to most people, and you can't get the price for just the Red Bull liquid without a can, and vodka is only relevant bottled (or x10 at a bar), and both it and bottled water have WIDE ranges of prices. They kind of mixed different kinds of purchasable items in the graph. If they'd used an average price for the ink as purchased by users, which is what we care about, all those other items would have barely registered on the graph compared to the full height of the ink bar and made it even more impressive. (I know, crude oil isn't something most of us buy either but it's a well-known item that is considered horribly expensive and highly-valued to the point of causing wars. Even if they showed the more relevant price of gasoline instead of oil, which would be nearly double, it would have barely moved the marker.)

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Retarded, or What?

      I guess HP's CEO has been sniffing the same glue that Ubisoft's has (customers should be comfortable not owning games).

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where Is The Profit?

    Link: https://www.npr.org/2012/05/24/153634897/why-printer-ink-is-the-other-black-gold

    Summary:

    (1) Printer sold at a loss because......printer consumables are insanely profitable......

    (2) Printer sale is a one time event.......printer consumable purchases go on for a long, long time....

    But also:

    (3) The "subscription model" is increasingly being leveraged for software too (see Adobe for an example).

    (4) "Service" companies are shifting data entry costs onto the customer (see banks, airlines, online retailers for multiple examples).

    The only surprise is that items #1, #2, #3 and #4 are not causing any outrage among customers. Sigh!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where Is The Profit?

      So the sane customers move elsewhere.

      Windows subscription? Nope, I use Linux (mostly Ubuntu)

      MS Office subscription? Nope, I use LibreOffice

      Printer ink/toner subscription? Nope, I use Brother with aftermarket cartridges

      Ok, we do have Netflix. But we're paying something like $0.25 per hour of use...

      1. CountCadaver Silver badge

        Re: Where Is The Profit?

        Sadly brother have started down the same print as a subscription muppetry

        https://www.brother.co.uk/ecopro

      2. biddibiddibiddibiddi

        Re: Where Is The Profit?

        Yeah but Netflix used to be $0.10 per hour of use not that long ago. (And of course that depends on an individual's usage.)

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Where Is The Profit?

      "Printer sale is a one time event.......printer consumable purchases go on for a long, long time...."

      In their dreams...

  17. wkm001

    Let's start by making ink and toner less expensive than blood! I think we can all agree blood is more important.

    The price delta between HP and 3rd parties is just too great. HP can compete or I'll buy another printer brand.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Blood is easy to get though.

      I'm currently in the market for a printer. Guess which brand I've excluded entirely.

  18. Phil E Succour

    I know how Elon feels about advertisers now

    If somebody is going to try to blackmail me with ink and toner pricing, go fuck yourself. Go fuck yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This reminds me of the time I needed to get some print cartridges for a work printer. The boss just told me to expense them. I went to a printer shop (it's all they sold - printers and printer supplies), and the lady at the till just smiled at my naivety and just said "You'd be saving money if you just bought a new printer".

    She was right!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not these days - the new printer's "new" cartridges come partially full.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Trouble is these days, the printer drivers seem to read the serial number, so you can’t just drop a new printer in and expect it to automatically start printing queued jobs…

  20. frankyunderwood123

    Sadly, there's not much choice out there for printers...

    ... at least not affordable choices.

    Many years back, probably decades now, consumers "fell" for what seemed like incredible printer deals.

    Even though they knew, or most did, it was the consumables which made the top consumer manufacturers money, the deals were still fairly good.

    However the likes of HP have become more and more agressive in pursuing the crazy idea of subscription purchases and clearly want to lock down printers even more.

    Surely at some point consumers are going to just stop buying their products?

    If you have yourself an old printer that is still running and you can still get third party inks for it, keep that sucker running as long as you can.

    I recently bought a kit for my wife's epson for cleaning the ink overflow tank and doing a firmware reset with a code - it cost me £10.

    The firmware reset "tells" the printer that the overflow tank is empty - without that reset, no amount of cleaning the tank and replacing the sponges will work.

    That was a year back, the printer is still running - I think it must be 7 years old now.

    Given the fact that its a model where the print heads are on the cartridges, I'll be able to keep it ticking over until you can no longer get the catridges.

    One thing is for sure, I would NEVER buy a new cheap consumer grade printer now - so I have NO idea what my wife will use when the Epson she has finally bites the dust...

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Sadly, there's not much choice out there for printers...

      Best printer 2023: just buy this Brother laser printer everyone has, it’s fine

      The Brother whatever-it-is will print return labels for online shopping, never run out of toner, and generally be a printer instead of the physical instantiation of a business model.

      I have an HP, my idea was to use it until it breaks and then get a Brother, but the bloody thing never breaks. I assume that's because I never updated the firmware and never connected it to the Internet so it hasn't received instructions from HPHQ to stop working when it detects a third party ink cartridge.

      1. CountCadaver Silver badge

        Re: Sadly, there's not much choice out there for printers...

        Brother look to be headed down the same stupid path

        https://www.brother.co.uk/ecopro

        (Except let's dress it up as "green" and get the plebs thinking they are saving money when in reality they are about to get reamed big style

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Sadly, there's not much choice out there for printers...

          My printer isn’t supported….

          I wonder when there will be a firmware update that will force me to upgrade…

  21. captain veg Silver badge

    IP enforcement

    "what we are doing is when we identify cartridges that are violating our IP, we stop the printers from work[ing]."

    You can claim all you like that someone is violating your IP, but enforcement, let alone judging the merit of your claim, is far beyond your legal purview.

    A printer which refuses to print, on the manufacturer's whim, is clearly unfit for sale.

    -A.

    1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

      Re: IP enforcement

      Their "IP" is "capable of talking to an HP printer's controller" so it's pretty easy to confirm when something violates it, if it doesn't also contain the embedded and encrypted HP identifier.

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: IP enforcement

      But it's interesting he so readily admits it. Could come back to bite HP in court.

      Runing peoples' stuff or day, because of fuzzy "IP" doesn't sound right.

  22. Roland6 Silver badge

    “There is a lot of IP that we've built in the inks of the printers”

    What IP?

    Any patents?

    Any court proceedings against ink manufacturers?

    Is that a NO?…

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: “There is a lot of IP that we've built in the inks of the printers”

      Compared to a printer of some years back the "I don't like your ink" code there probably is less IP in it than there used to be. Because once you've got a working printer then there's not a whole lot you can do with apart from build it a bit cheaper. All the development in the last 20 years seems to be to find ways to stop the printer from working -- not so much planned obsolescence as programmed obsolescence.

  23. doublerot13

    HP.... the new Kodak

    On many, many levels.

  24. Gerlad Dreisewerd

    Yeah, I used HP cartridges & still got screwed over

    I ran an HP 3830 printer for years. Always used HP ink. Then HP decided to let Microsoft handle the drivers and the printer no longer worked with Windows. It would still work with my Linux laptop but I needed a working printer on my Windows machine. After a couple months, I bought an Epson.

    1. Ghostman

      Re: Yeah, I used HP cartridges & still got screwed over

      I do have an HP AIO inkjet, which I have told HP by email, that this is the last HP printer I will ever buy. I also told them that I will inform my customers to not buy HP due to the problem with drivers, ink replacement, unable to use the scan function unless you log into your HP account in the cloud, and just how "helpful" HP support is.

      I have figured a way to print without any connection to the printer and told HP "support" .

      The HP "support" person was not impressed when I told them how I was going to inform my customers with a retort of go ahead.

      He kinda got the message when I explained that I sell the 8600 and 8700 printers by the pallet load (one attorney bought the 8700 AIO for all the paralegals and attorneys). He liked the idea of being able to send a message to a certain para immediately instead of the company email to the printers email.

      When I told him to look up the sales figures from my store, he kinda got defensive about me telling the bad news to customers.

      Every store now needs to post that article in the HP printer section so consumers can know what HP thinks of them. Maybe HP will come to their senses and back down.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, I used HP cartridges & still got screwed over

        "Maybe HP will come to their senses and back down."

        Either that, or go bust. Both would be fine.

  25. Matdamon

    You can't engage with crazy, and Brother printers are just better

    Has this man been forgetting to take his special pills?

    Maybe he should be finding something additional and new for his company to be doing if it wants to make some extra money.

  26. Jay F

    That's helpful knowledge

    Now that the position is clear, the shortlist for buying a new printer has got shorter. Their competitors will be laughing all the way to the bank, unless, of course, they also decide this is the best way for the free market to operate.

  27. dmedin

    Never mind. The good old European Union will protect consumers from unmitigated greed and abuse by big corporations.

    Oh wait, never mind.

    At least they will protect us from cookies though.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      At least they try, unlike Brexshit Tory Britain.

      And they have clout. Also unlike the formentioned.

  28. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    HP Integrity

    HP used to stand for something... they made superior calculators, they made their own computers back when PCs weren't a standard yet. They innovated with their inkjet printers.

    Now, they've lost so many people's trust and they have just shown their true colours. They've admitted that they're treating customers as cash cows, as a product to invest in. The CEO's comments are pretty much contemptible. I won't be recommending HP printers any more, and I hope many people do the same.

  29. saabpilot

    The worlds most expensive liquid used to be bull sperm. Then HP invented the inkjet. The greatest rip-off ever.

  30. NorbertP

    "...we sort of see a 20 percent uplift on the value of that customer." Or alternatively you see a 100% drop in the value of that customer; I suspect I am not alone in refusing to buy any HP equipment because of their customer-hostile practices.

    *sigh* I remember when HP's products were objects of desire...

  31. gadolf

    Re: psycopaths

    It's the Economy, stupid!

    It's rather naive to think that companies and their leaders are a world on their own, detached from ours.

    They`re driven by strategies to please shareholders and other higher goals, and shareholders do care only about their shares.

    This is where the real psycopathy and sociopathy lies, no one cares how they bring money, provided they do it.

    This is where our capitalist system is.

    It's capitalism, stupid!

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: psycopaths

      More like moron consumers who can't be bothered to think and do just a little research. Suckers.

  32. Nohphere

    A very simple solution

    Next time my two hp printers need ink they'll take up permanent residence in the dumpster. Then, I'll purchase a non-hp device. How does that fit in to your business plan, hp?

  33. ske1fr
    Mushroom

    Chips with everything

    I'm surprised they're not peddling some kind of "third party cartridges will inject you with tracking and control chips" cobblers.

    ABH.

    1. Actual Bodily Harm

    Or

    2. Anything But HP.

    Just say no.

  34. MartG

    What a wonderful way to persuade your customers to go elsewhere to buy their printers...

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everybody's Doing It

    The uber-capitalists are trying to squeeze everyone. Making it so you own nothing. HP, John Deere, Ubisoft, BMW - they're all at it.

    Time for a people's revolution. Well, when the weather warms up a bit. And I can't make Saturday mornings.

    1. StinkyMcStinkFace

      Re: Everybody's Doing It

      I just bought a new tractor this fall.

      Guess what, I skipped John Deere. This is why.

      Ubisoft? I started boycotting them over a decade ago.

      BMW? Don't even go there.

      HP? This is the last HP product I will ever own (rent).

  36. Vaguely remebers

    I'm a decades-long HP printer user, both in my business and at home. I don't like cutting corners so I have always purchased HP ink and toner. However, I am also 100% dead-set against being locked into any subscription. It's fine when a business is doing well, but if things get tough you are still left having to cover those monthly payments, whether it be buildings, vehicles or printers.

    Happily, I don't have to bend to the dictates of the current HP arsehole and can and will take my business elsewhere.

    So long HP.

  37. Binraider Silver badge

    Heaven forbid you keep the product you want to sell more competitive than the competition. We all know where the margins are on selling printers; and it's not in the printer. Malware embedded in the chip? Why does it have a chip at all?! (Yes, yes, we know!)

    We keep a very light usage inkjet printer around for the occasional task. The difference in operating cost for buying clone cartridges is not enough to really care for the tiny quantity we ever use. It is perhaps worth pointing out that some printers are that cheap, it can genuinely be cheaper to get a new printer than buy a new cartridge, a measure of how stupid and wasteful things are. Very strong argument to set environmental taxes on objects based on the damage involved in their creation if there ever was one.

    I'm considering getting of all things, a modern dot matrix printer mostly for retro computing related tasks, maybe the odd code listing.

    For anything work related, we have big fancy A3 colour laser printers in the office, one of the better reasons to go in.

  38. jmch Silver badge

    Broken business model

    "Every time a customer buys a printer, it's an investment for us. We are investing in that customer, and if that customer doesn't print enough or doesn't use our supplies, it's a bad investment."

    That's basically admitting that they're not making any money from selling a printer. We are investing in that customer literally means they are subsidising the printer sale and seeing that loss as an investment to be recouped on ink sales.

  39. Mike Friedman

    Longtime IT Nerd says...don't buy HP crap

    That says it all. I've been in this business for 30 years. HP sells GARBAGE. Their printers last maybe 10K prints, if that, and the cost/page is enormous because they can't stop milking their customers for ink and toner that's more expensive than gold.

    F them. I stopped buying their printers when they bricked one of my personal ones. And Brother printers cost the same initially but the ink is vastly cheaper.

    Long gone are the days of Laserjet 4000/4050s that printed 200K pages and showed no signs of slowing down.

    Never, ever again if I have anything to say about it.

    1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: Longtime IT Nerd says...don't buy HP crap

      The last good HP printer was the Laserjet 5 series. The 4000 series went with a fuser that was composite and eventually crumbled, compared to the 5 series that was still metal.

      Fortunately, there are other vendors, at least until they pull an HP and Lexmark and shoot their own feet with their chipped toners and inks. Then, as far as I'm concerned, ban paper.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OMG are you serious?

    You put the chips in the cartridges for the SOLE purpose of infringing on our rights to choose our own ink.

    Then you complain that the chips are security vulnerability?

    ARE YOU ON DRUGS?

    Just remove the GOD DAMNED CHIPS then.

    Asshole!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OMG are you serious?

      I look at it this way. The US used an HP jetdirect card to break into the Iraqi military network and drop it at the beginning of the invasion of Iraq.

      Yes, I actually know some of those involved in that operation.

      Now, they have chipped cartridges and toners.

      Screw them and the horse they rode into town on. I'll either stick with my antique printers or just not use paper at all.

  41. A2Wx8
    FAIL

    So Long HP!

    It's stuff like this that's made me abandon HP and no longer recommend it for others. They used to be solidly reliable printers that just worked and stayed out of your way. Ah do I miss "old HP." My father, after replacing his photo printer on my recommendation remarked that he used to have all HP printers, now he has none.

    It's a symptom of a larger problem, though. GM killing off CarPlay and Android Auto to try to force you into a subscription to use your car, Adobe, and the list goes on and on. Companies just can't get their hands off your wallet anymore. It's all about "merchandising the post-purchase experience" or "increasing the long-term customer relationship." I don't speak managementese, so I just call it "ripping me off."

  42. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "We have seen that you can embed viruses into cartridges, through the cartridge go to the printer, from the printer go to the network, so it can create many more problems for customers."

    Good one!

    So that's not a design flaw of monumental proportions on HP's part then?

    Or is it just a tall tale?

  43. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    I bought the last real-license Lightroom way back. I've saved something like £1500 on not renting Lightroom. And I only use it once a year, or so.

    Getting suckers to rent hobby software is clever, but sure as hell helps alternative software developers get a foot in the market.

  44. aldolo

    i'm polluting

    2 hp printer replaced by a cheap laser, and they are still there waiting for the dumpster.

    1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

      Re: i'm polluting

      The proper disposal method is to keep them in a closet for at least 2 years, just in case, then when you move, take them with you for another year, then eventually give them to a donation center (Goodwill or whatever there is in the UK) with the hardened ink cartridges still installed. You're not a polluter if you give your trash to someone else.

  45. Wzrd1 Silver badge

    If HP is investing in the buyer

    Why are they selling the investment, erm, printer? Give away the printer, then it's an investment.

    This is more like roping someone into buying only one brand of gasoline for their car - their brand. Totally stimulating innovation and competition via monopoly.

    Thankfully, they're not the only printer company around.

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