back to article HP print rental service seeks more users to become subscription addicts

HP has 13 million customers signed up to the Instant Ink subscription program, and a recently introduced rental service that includes hardware is similarly forecast to extract "more value" from customers. The All-in-One service opened for business in the US last week. Unlike Instant Ink, it includes hardware as well, …

  1. katrinab Silver badge
    Megaphone

    And that is why HP is not on my shortlist when considering a new printer.

    I got a Canon multifunction laser just over 10 years ago in the Black Friday sale. I replaced the black cartridge for the first time last year. The colour cartridges have about 40% left in them. When they run out, that will probably be time to replace it with a new one.

    I mostly use it for the scanner. I print 1 or 2 pages every other month, then about once a year I print out a much longer document in the hundreds of pages. So a monthly page allowance just doesn't work for me.

    More frequently, I print out 1 label from a sheet of 65 labels. So that one label sheet will go through the printer 65 times before it is used up. So it is one page in terms of ink actually used, but HP would bill it as 65 pages.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      RE: wise choice

      For light usage Canon is by far the best choice in inkjet printers. Epsons, thanks to their dye-based inks and permanent heads, will *always* end up clogging under occasional use and will be nothing but a headache! HP doesn't have Epson's clogging issue to that level but just too many other factors to bother with.

      I've had all 3 brands at one time. I am exclusively Canon now, after hard-learned lessons, and am very happy overall.

      1. GraXXoR

        Re: RE: wise choice

        This is just an anecdote but I still use my 2008 Epson B500DN every week. it's been an incredible workhorse and has never "clogged" up once. It uses VHS cassette sized ink cartridges, one of which lasted me over 5 years without any printing problems. (the paper feed started to get iffy last year).

        The printer seems to automatically runs the head cleaning cycle every week or so, but since the ink is so voluminous and cheap ($45 per cartridge).

        And dye based ink doesn't run when it gets wet, so it's perfect for printing stuff that will be exposed to spills or moisture and I have a posters in my shop window that get hit by direct sunlight but still haven't faded in a decade! Really incredible printer.

        So I think asterisking your *always* is a bit hyperbolic.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          I note that you haven't mentioned your weekly printing load. You just say that you use it every week.

          That may be enough, but I have had years of headaches and ink loss with Epson inkjets until I finally decided to go laser, and I have never regretted that choice.

          I print less than five pages a month. Laser is the only choice for that volume, inkjets will always dry up and be a nuisance.

          That's a fact.

        2. Not Yb Bronze badge

          Re: RE: wise choice

          Printing weekly is probably just about enough to keep Epson printers from clogging, but any less frequently than that really does risk permanent clogging.

      2. Lurko

        Re: RE: wise choice

        For light usage Canon is by far the best choice in inkjet printers.

        Used to be. I've used various Canon inkjets for circa twenty years. The latest is a relatively pricey G4600 which uses tanks of ink. Should work a treat and be cheap to run, unfortunately it does neither, as the red nozzles clog regularly, requiring endless heavy cleaning routines before you can print anything other than B&W or green-tinged anything. Eventually it clears, and you get a beautiful print. A couple of days later you want another colour print, and exactly the same performance. Always the red that clogs.

        I won't be buying another inkjet (and in keeping with the article's focus, I won't ever be buying an HP of any kind).

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: RE: wise choice

          Our Canon G6050 bottle filled printer gets the occasional clog. Not too often considering that it can sometimes go for weeks without being used. Even the deep clean doesn't seem to use much of the ink from the tanks. And then it works beautifully again. The ink bottles are about £10 each and you can buy individual colours as needed. Haven't needed to yet though.

      3. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: RE: wise choice

        Yep. We have a Canon multifunction inkjet with ink bottle refills for light colour print and scanner use. And an elderly Brother laser for routine monochrome use. The Brother has had a lot of knocking around over the years, uses the chdeapest toner we can find. And just keeps soldiering on and on and on.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: RE: wise choice

          Brother's Motto: "You won't wake up in a bath full of ice with a kidney missing"

      4. robinsonb5

        Re: RE: wise choice

        I thought the pigment-based Epsons were the worst for clogging (I first noticed it with the C64, C84 and MFC equivalents)?

        Not that the dye-based Epsons were immune to it - my R300 photo printer eventually died to an incurable clog but that was years into its lifespan.

        I always thought Canons were less prone to death-by-clog because the cartridges contain a disposable print head. Canons do seem to be prone, however, to death-by-waste-ink-counter!

        1. Lurko

          Re: RE: wise choice

          I always thought Canons were less prone to death-by-clog because the cartridges contain a disposable print head. Canons do seem to be prone, however, to death-by-waste-ink-counter!

          Depends on the model. The bottom end models (a family member has one) use pigment based PG series cartridges with built in print heads. Doesn't normally clog before the ink runs out, but expensive to replace the cartridges, and they don't last that long. The G4000 and MegaTank models are ink tank fed and don't have readily replaceable print heads, and these use dye based inks (on a cartridge that would be CL series, for the bottled inks mine uses they're GI series). To be fair, it ran for a couple of years before the clogging became an issue, but the whole point of spending (for a home printer) serious money was in the misplaced expectation that it would last well. I probably need to take out the print head and give it a good soak in distilled water and/or isopropanol, but that's an afternoon's faff I could do without.

          The original purpose of going for a pricey Canon inkjet was that it was the only real option for high quality photo printing. When it works that remains the case, quality is awesome, but in reality I don't print photos often enough to justify it. If you're in the market for a decent inkjet 3 in 1, then the Canon tank based models are still well worth considering, but bear in mind that they seem to like frequent use of colour printing, and in my experience a weekly print test page isn't enough on its own.

          1. Emjay111

            Re: RE: wise choice

            I don't soak ink jet print heads - I steam them. Boil the kettle then just as steam comes from the spout, carefully hold the print head nozzles in the steam path. Have some kitchen roll or tissue ready to catch the ink as it drips out. Repeat the process a couple more times.

            I've can't remember where I got this technique from - but as a large part of my business back in the 2000s involved printer repair, I did hundreds (if not thousands) of printers, and for blocked nozzles, this was a relatively effective fix. I certainly never made a printhead any worse using this technique, that's for sure.

      5. Annihilator

        Re: RE: wise choice

        HP doesn't have the clogging issue primarily because their printheads are within the cartridges. Ironically, the biggest issue I had during a (sort of) free trial of HP Ink was my light usage, meaning that a cartridge would get clogged, but HP refused to replace it as the levels still showed high.

        HP also dcked me off with their free ink trial. Bought the printer with "2 years free Instant Ink!" emblazoned on the box. What that meant in reality was "£120 credit, signed up to the £5 a month plan". When that subsequently went up to a £7 a month plan, suddenly £120 doesn't buy 2 years anymore... Good luck arguing that with HP though.

        1. Not Yb Bronze badge

          Re: RE: wise choice

          HP hasn't used integral print heads on cartridges for many years. Their modern printer cartridges are just ink tanks with a DRM chip on that estimates how much ink is left, and stops working once it thinks there's none left.

          Some of the print heads are still replaceable, I think, but not economically.

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Laser is better for b&w

      If you mostly print B&W, get a refurbed commercial quality laser. Mine's an old Laserjet 5, but I hear Laserjet 4200 are just as good (and no DRM). Since they were produced by the truckload, there are plenty of refurbs around for reasonable prices.

      When I do need to print colo[u]r, I send it to Staples and pick it up. Let them worry about ink and toner. A few dollars not very often is a cheap price to pay.

  2. Terry 6 Silver badge

    A fool and his money

    Anyone falling for this blatant scam deserves to pay.

    1. the spectacularly refined chap

      Re: A fool and his money

      I don't see what is the issue myself - this is at least transparent and upfront: you are not buying a printer, you are not buying ink, you are buying print as a service. If the numbers work out for you then why shouldn't you have that option.

      It has a lot more integrity than the model used over the last few years, namely selling you (and charging you for) a printer outright, and then claiming some divine right to dictate whose inks you can use in your own printer, in complete defiance of the first sale doctrine.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: A fool and his money

        Essentially you own nothing and you are happy kind of affair.

        Customer using it, probably can't wait for their rations of insects as a reward for having good social credit score.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: A fool and his money

          Essentially you own nothing and you are happy kind of affair.

          I don't want to own a printer. So I really don't care. So long as I can print when required, I'd like to do so at the lowest combination of cost and time wasted.

          This is something where a subsctription might make sense. Ink is a consumable, and printers don't live forever. Especially not the small ones you might buy as a user who only wants a few pages a month. This incentivises HP to make their printers more robust - and last longer.

          Paying a subscription on books / films / music makes less sense, so I don't. Though if you like something different all the time, and never re-watch / re-listen then a sub may be right for you - if your provider keeps making new content.

          But I have no emotional attachment to my printer.

          Although barely contained rage is an emotion I suppose...

          1. Alfie Noakes

            Re: A fool and his money

            "I don't want to own a printer. So I really don't care. So long as I can print when required, I'd like to do so at the lowest combination of cost and time wasted."

            ...and if you don't own the printer, and you don't own the ink, and you don't own the paper - they can jack up the price at any time and there is nothing that you can do. Think "smart" meters, pay-per-mile driving etc.!

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: A fool and his money

              ...and if you don't own the printer, and you don't own the ink, and you don't own the paper - they can jack up the price at any time and there is nothing that you can do. Think "smart" meters, pay-per-mile driving etc.!

              If they put the prices up, I can leave.

              They're offereing a 2 year contract, which means UK law unfortunately allows them to have inflation-linked price rises. But otherwise the price is fixed. If they have 2 price rises for inflation, I don't re-sign the contract and buy a non-HP printer and go merrily upon my way. They have to pay to pick their printer up from my office and re-furb and re-sell it. They lose a customer.

              If they try an above-inflation price rise, then the contract is void and I also go merrily upon my way, as above. But before the two years are up.

              I've had Instant Ink for 7-8 years now. They've had two price rises. I'd risk it.

              1. Mike 137 Silver badge

                Re: A fool and his money

                "If they put the prices up, I can leave"

                At an additional cost of (apparently) $270.

                Our newest printer is a 5 year old OKI laser that does everything we need. Over that time, the total cost of ownership has probably been much lower than that of any of these fancy subscription plans for a similar period. Not for nothing does HP state "we have given a significant shift of our business to a subscription model. We have more than 13 million subscribers now, and these are people that pay us every month to print." and "it's great for us because it's more margin per customer.". So they admit it's costing you more, and the touted 'convenience' is just no longer needing to remember to re-order paper and toner or ink. Quite apart from which, we choose our paper carefully as paper is not just 'paper' -- quality varies, as does the type of paper stock needed for different applications. I don't want HP or anyone else deciding these things on our behalf.

                However, squeezing the customer till the wallet leaks seems to be the general trend in IT now -- this is just one more example.

                1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                  Re: A fool and his money

                  "If they put the prices up, I can leave"

                  At an additional cost of (apparently) $270.

                  Nope. At no additional cost.

                  It's a two year fixed contract. If they void it by breaking the terms, I cancel it. They broke it, not me, I don't pay a cancellation fee. They're free to take me to court if they fancy their chances of not losing more than £270 to their lawyers - and getting lucky with a crap judge in a small claims court and beating me.

                  1. sabroni Silver badge

                    Re: If they void it by breaking the terms

                    They're allowed to change the price, it doesn't void the contract. I'm guessing HP can afford better lawyers than you.

              2. Tom66

                Re: A fool and his money

                Under UK law they can include "any" price rise in the contract.

                This is how ISPs get away with 3.9% + CPI mid-term rises.

                I had one breakdown services provider try to put up my service by 5% + CPI of the *undiscounted price*. They had calculated the undiscounted price as being about 4x the annual rate I was paying. With enough back-and-forth emails I wore them down to the point where they withdrew this increase and I cancelled the service next month.

                It should be banned but there is currently no restriction on it as long as the term is not seen as "grossly unfair" under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Act.

              3. David Hicklin Bronze badge

                Re: A fool and his money

                >> If they try an above-inflation price rise, then the contract is void

                I think that is wishful thinking...this is not an OFCOM regulated product like phone contracts

            2. GraXXoR

              Re: A fool and his money

              Don't forget this godawful "SURGE PRICING" scam that a restaurant chain is "just trying out"

          2. heyrick Silver badge

            Re: A fool and his money

            "This is something where a subsctription might make sense. Ink is a consumable, and printers don't live forever."

            I have Instant Ink and for my use case it's enough that I feel like I'm saving on the cost of ink over buying the cartridges as I need to (whether or not they're all horrifically overpriced is a different question).

            The thing is, the printer that I bought (a 3630) was cheap and cheerful and according to my blog I got it in July 2017, so it has...actually done surprisingly well. I think I paid €40 for it. These lower end printers are not expensive at all as they want to hook you on the ink subscriptions.

            Which means you need to work out the cost of the printer, divided by the 24 months subscription time, in order to see if you're going to be losing out here.

            This is also why I wasn't interested in the paper subscription when it was offered. I mostly print to regular A4, and a ream of that is something like €4 at the supermarket. If I was after a high quality print.....sorry HP, but those little essentially single-use print heads can't hold a candle to the sort of prints my sadly deceased Brother could manage. But, then, it's a €40 printer, what can you expect?

            Plus, another question worth asking is what happens once the 24 months is up but you don't cancel? Do you get a price reduction? A new printer? Or is it considered a lease and you just keep on paying the same price?

            1. katrinab Silver badge
              Alert

              Re: A fool and his money

              Price goes up at the end of the contract term. Probably.

          3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: A fool and his money

            "printers don't live forever."

            There's reason to think that older HP lasers do live forever. What's more they don't check for who made or refiled the cartridge. They built HP's reputation for making printers which they've been trading on ever since. That reputation has been circling the drain for some time and now seems to be getting pretty close to going down it.

            "But I have no emotional attachment to my printer."

            It's not so much the printer that received the emotional attachment as the cash and the sense that customers are being ripped off.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: A fool and his money

              Doctor Syntax,

              I don't like HP, and it was a colleague that bought it, so I was stuck with it. I've had bad experiences with Epson too - in fact I've never had good experiences of any printers (though I've heard good things about Brother).

              HP did win a bit of my love though, by cocking up. I signed up for the 2 month Instant Ink trial. Due to an understandable lack of trust they gave me a truly insane amount of credits, so even if I signed up to the 25 pages a month and went nuts, I could still print a few thousand pages and the trial would remain free. But they forgot to put a time limit on the credits. 22 months of free printing later, and I had to pay my first monthly Instant Ink invoice of £2.50...

              1. sabroni Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: A fool and his money

                So you're in here shilling for them because they gave you free printing?

                Explains all your posts.

                1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                  Re: A fool and his money

                  Sabroni,

                  Do grow up. Not everyone who disagrees with you is a shill. Sometimes, they just think you’re wrong.

                  I’m in here arguing against the tiresome tossers who always turn up on any discussion about any subscription service to loudly proclaim to everyone how clever they are and how stupid the sheeple must be who sign up to it. And then tell us that we’ll own nothing and be happy. As if I wanted to own a business inkjet or a company office software suite.

                  This printer thing may be a rip off. I’ll look at the price when they offer it. But I now pay £40 a year for ink, that used to cost me a little more if I bought fake. And over twice as much if I bought genuine. If HP change the deal, I buy cartridges again.

                  It’s a nice bonus that I got free ink for nearly two years, and goes some way to cover HPs past overcharging.

      2. Little Mouse

        Re: A fool and his money

        HP has past form for changing the Ts & Cs of their subscription plans. Remember their Instant Ink Print Free for Life?

      3. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Re: A fool and his money

        I already have access to "print as a service". It is called a print shop, and I am not tied into any long subscriptions.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: A fool and his money

          I already have access to "print as a service". It is called a print shop, and I am not tied into any long subscriptions.

          There isn't one near me. And it might be cold or wet outside. Plus we use the printer enough to be worth having one in the office. It's for one-off things, not regular print-runs.

          What works is what suits you at a price you're happy with.

          Instant Ink is great for us. This looks a tad expensive, untless you're paying for the printer over 2 years and then the price drops - although at that point I may as well buy a printer myself and carry on with Instant Ink.

          Their paper looked expensive too.

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            Re: What works is what suits you at a price you're happy with

            And as they gave you a year's worth of free printing you think it's a great price.

            That isn't the deal that they are giving everyone else.

      4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: A fool and his money

        " If the numbers work out for you then why shouldn't you have that option."

        And those who don't will be reviewing the market if they haven't already done so.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: A fool and his money

      We're paying about £3.50 for 100 pages a month (for a small office). So that's under £40 a year for a print load that used to be at least 2 full sets of cartridges per year. Genuine ones being maybe £80. My experience with fake cartridges is that they're OK, but every few years one has failed on me - I've never had a genuine one not work - and although it's possible that's deliberate from the printer manufacturer, I suspect it's more likely a quality issue. You often have to try one or two different sets when you change printer, to find ones of acceptable quality, and then stick with them. Also the HP Instant Ink ones have more ink than their standard ones because it's them that has to pay the postage - so I'm tending to get through a little over one set a year.

      The printer failed under warranty and was replaced - and the second one has lasted about 5 years so far. We should really have got a laser, but we use colour enough that we went with one of the business inkjets (designed for a bit higher use and lower ink costs) and I'm pretty happy. So I'd be tempted by this - they haven't hiked the prices on us since we signed up in about 2018 (i think there have been 2 price rises in that time). The one time I contacted customer service - it was good, they phoned me back and sorted the problem.

      I've got other things to worry about, so if the costs aren't stupidly high I'd perfectly happily take a subscription service for zero effort over having to spend time looking for a new pritnter and sorting out a new source of ink.

      How long should a £300 all-in-one last? At 5 years that's only £60 a year so a fiver a month plus ink. I might stretch to a tenner a month then, but it looks like they might be charging a bit more than that.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: A fool and his money

        What spoils this is Amazon Prime delivery.

        If I need to find cartridges for even my oldest HP printer (I've got an Officejet G55 and an Officejet 5610) then I can, and get next day delivery. If I keep one set ready to go, and order again when I use the ones I have on the shelf, I am rarely in a position where I cannot print. I have to order them, of course, but mostly that's an "Order again" from my Amazon purchase history.

        Of course finding HP originals is difficult for these older printers, but in general I find I can use re-manufactured ones at a fraction of the price of the HP ones (even taking into account that some don't work out of the box), and of course, as the print head is in the cartridge, I don't have to worry about clogged heads.

        The other advantage of using older printers is there is no nag-ware, and as I am in a mostly Linux environment, I don't have problem with the fact that HP withdraw the drivers for older printers. Of course, Cups switching to IPP by default has been a little bit of an issue, but it seems to be working itself out now. I generally have the printers hung off NAS devices, or always-on small Linux systems, so the fact that they are not network attached is not an issue.

        1. Snake Silver badge

          Re: A fool and his money

          About the same experience here: the only cartridges that have ever failed on me, laser or inkjet, are third-party. For the laser machines, which are high volume use, [we] stay with the third-party. But at home, the inkjets, I just decided it wasn't worth the risk or the hassle of dealing with sub-par products and purchase exclusively OEM, considering how infrequently I print the cost savings for the risk of third-party just isn't worth it.

        2. DS999 Silver badge

          Amazon Prime printing

          Too bad they don't introduce this service. If I could send a PS file to Amazon and have it printed and mailed back to me in two days I probably wouldn't need a printer. I'd keep my current Officejet to be able to scan documents, and if I had to print something with a quicker turnaround I could go to an office supply store and pay them 50 cents a page or whatever (while kicking myself for not getting to whatever it was sooner so I could have used Amazon Prime printing)

          Heck since it isn't like Amazon couldn't do this printing in distribution centers they could easily support same day (if early enough) or next day print delivery for a higher price, two day for a standard price, and perhaps "if it is under 10 pages once a month you get a free print job which will be delivered along with your next Amazon order".

          But I suspect Amazon makes a lot of money selling printers and cartridges, so they'd lose money on something that would cause fewer people to own printers!

          1. navarac Silver badge

            Re: Amazon Prime printing

            Would anyone want Amazon to be able to read your documents? I wouldn't for sure.

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              Re: Amazon Prime printing

              It is pretty rare I print anything I would care if anyone saw. Maybe once a year I print something with personal information like my SSN.

          2. Not Yb Bronze badge

            Re: Amazon Prime printing

            Amazon will do this for photos. Unfortunately not postscript though if you can locally "print" the PS to an image, you can have amazon print it. Not that I'd recommend it, because prints on photo paper are overkill for text, and I don't think they have an option for "print on plain paper". Haven't checked recently.

        3. Lurko

          Re: A fool and his money

          What spoils this <HP's subscription model> is Amazon Prime delivery.

          Yes, but Amazon prime is the same principle. You pay whether you order or not. Amazon are progressively watering down what you get (eg charging Prime members for same day delivery brought in last September), they are pushing more aggressively the "all your legal rights are gone" Amazon Marketplace offerings, filling more of their listings with unheard of brands of Chinese junk, they're adding adverts to the Prime video content that you're already paying for. All of these subscription models are bait and switch, the only question is when and how big is the switch.

          That doesn't directly undermine your point about how you're better off using Amazon than HP's Bilkomatic proposition, but it does mean that you and I are subject to the Amazon Bilkomatic proposition.

      2. Not Yb Bronze badge

        Re: A fool and his money

        HP deliberately screws up 3rd-party cartridges. You install their updates for "security", but much of the "security" they're updating is the part that detects and fails third-party cartridges with a non-sensical "cartridge problem" error a few weeks later (so you don't necessarily blame the update that did it). I believe what they call "dynamic security" is the 3rd-party cartridge detection and stoppage system.

        It's almost never the actual cartridges failing, because they are just ink tanks with leak and vacuum prevention systems, and a DRM and ink usage counting chip on top. Not much can really fail without software that decides "this thing fails now".

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: A fool and his money

          Not Yb,

          Most of the fake cartridges that have failed on me have been leaks. I’m not ruling out that HP have engineered their printers to cause that, but it’s a bit less likely.

          In the end, it doesn’t really matter. Government can fix this, I can’t. However annoying. So I just want cheapish, hassle-free printing.

    3. Luiz Abdala
      Joke

      Re: A fool and his money

      You may suddenly notice that the rented printers are from a model that doesn't exist on the market (maybe *not anymore*), have beefy reinforced steel innards instead of plastic, and never break down, since they are making money *per printed page*, not regardless of it..

      They may even be Laserjet 4000's...

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: A fool and his money

        You may suddenly notice that the rented printers are from a model that doesn't exist on the market (maybe *not anymore*), have beefy reinforced steel innards instead of plastic - and ruthlessly crush their fleshy victims into a smear of paté on the office floor.

        Luiz Abdala,

        Fixed that for you. I think this LLM fake-AI is only to distract us from the real AI - that as developed by the global printer conspiracy at least 20 years ago. Soon they will rise up and destroy us all! Skynet is printers!

        Skyn... ... ... ....

        whirr beep whirr beep beep whirrr

        ...

        [end of transmission]

        1. gryphon

          Re: A fool and his money

          have beefy reinforced steel innards instead of plastic - and ruthlessly crush their fleshy victims into a smear of paté on the office floor.

          Ah, you've tried to move a 3Si or 5Si with all the extra bobbins on your own then.

          1. Giles C Silver badge

            Re: A fool and his money

            Are the 5si basically armoured, years ago we had one wreck itself, the internals broke down might had had fuser burn out and it wasn’t viable to repair one, someone had the idea to get rid of it a skip crusher, the crusher gave up and the shell of that machine just had a crack in the plastic panel (I think the crusher was rated to 20 tonnes)…

            That was a well built printer

          2. Luiz Abdala
            Trollface

            Re: A fool and his money

            Clip-on ties were invented FOR A REASON.

  3. Tim 49

    "We have also grown our share and expanded our portfolio in big tank."

    Can someone translate this, please?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      HP have partnered with either Russia or Ukraine (or both) and are providing Main Battle Tanks as a Service™.

      It's a bit unfortunate when you load the wrong cartridge during combat and have to reboot the tank. Or it refuses to start until you've downloaded a 1.5GB driver package.

      But the WiFi enabled Multifuntion Tank for small office workgroups is the product of the future. Make your presentations Go With a Bang!™

      1. Andy Non Silver badge
        Coat

        Ideal for when you need to shell out.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's bad day when you run out of HE and then it refuses to fire APDSFS even though you can see 12 in the rack.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Coat

          The British army use fake HE cartdges. But don't want them to know about it. That's why they call theirs HESHhhhh

    2. Not Yb Bronze badge

      "big tank" = similar to the various "ecotank" style printers with larger ink capacity and/or refillable tanks. If they've sold you a printer that charges per page printed and stops if you stop paying, it doesn't really matter whether you use 3rd party ink any more.

  4. nautica Silver badge
    Boffin

    "...more users to become subscription addicts."

    The majority of the world's population is made up of nothing more than smooth-brained, non-thinking, fucking sheep.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: "...more users to become subscription addicts."

      smooth-brained, non-thinking, fucking sheep.

      ...that can vote.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "...more users to become subscription addicts."

        If vote could change anything it would have been made illegal a long time ago.

        1. nautica Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: "...more users to become subscription addicts."

          Old Yiddish saying--

          "If praying really worked, they'd pay people to do it."

    2. sabroni Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: nothing more than smooth-brained, non-thinking, fucking sheep.

      Takes one to know one, though I'm sure you think you are exceptional.

      1. nautica Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: nothing more than smooth-brained, non-thinking, fucking sheep.

        Congratulations. You just proved that you're in the majority.

        (You will, very obviously, require outside help in having this explained to you.)

    3. NightFox

      Re: "...more users to become subscription addicts."

      And people who think that anyone with preferences, needs, opinions or circumstances which are different from their own are smooth-brained, non-thinking, fucking sheep.

  5. MMOaddict

    Well I bought an Epson 2600 3 or 4 years ago. I buy generic replacement ink and the £10 or so for the 4 inks last for 2 years as I only print about 20 pages a month. Seems just a little cheaper than an HP plan. At some point will need to replace the printer but the extra £100 or so for refillable tanks is offset in the first year given the price of branded cartridges.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I've had an Epson Eco Tank for years. Quickly proved its worth over regularly spending $50 on HP cartridges.

      1. GraXXoR

        Finally... a comment that hits the nail on the head: Never buy a printer that uses thimble sized ink cartridges. Your wallet will thank you for it.

  6. GBE

    My 20-year old LaserJet would like to apoligize...

    My twenty-something year old LaserJet would like to apologize on behalf of its parent company and state that's its truly embarrassed at what HP has turned into.

    $238 for a toner cartridge. As if.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unemployment is good, kind of

    HP is an example of innovation stopped and turning into a monopolistic utility. But would not someone think of the potentially unemployed?!

    Then comes the "harmful deflation" myth. Economy optimization is supposed to produce both deflation and unemployment. Rinse and repeat. Overproduction, cheaper everything, loss of jobs, retraining, new companies, new innovative products and so on. Those printer cartridges are supposed to cost near zero, as the 30 year old processors, especially being produced in China. It is quite likely the America's "service economy" is nothing but repackaging and reselling Chinese goods.

    Also there is a contradiction between the constant criticism of Capita, and public sector disasters, yet the same reasoning applies: unless you could fire people fast, there is no motivation for change or self-improvement. Even Big Tech gets its portion of critique for firing people, at the same being criticized for monopolistic practices. You'd better decide where you are standing. Monopoly is a sub-product of comfy seats. Socialism is a close relative.

  8. cageordie

    The revenue stream model

    Businesses like a revenue stream instead of a sale. So sure, this works for them. If they had been honest about their technology and their pricing they'd have done better in the long term. I have been around for the entire life of consumer color printers, so I've seen then move to a loss lead model where they expected to make the big bucks on the consumables. That was OK to begin with, but then the greed kicked in and they started making the ink cartridges smaller and more expensive. That fueled the demand for third party sources and damaged their loss lead model. So they went protectionist. That didn't work so now they want to get a guaranteed revenue. That's only going to work for a small subset of real customers. Meanwhile Brother remained honest. I buy Brother printers and toner cartridges. I don't buy inkjets because it seemed like every time I came to use them something was wrong. So went Epson and Cannon. HP was always Highly Priced. So for the last 15 years we've been on Brother printers. A 2370 and a 9330. Nothing would make me subscribe to HP. We used to have some at work, they were replaced with Kyocera printers whenever the HP printers failed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @cageordie - Re: The revenue stream model

      Yeah, but how long is Brother going to stand and watch HP increasing their profit with no extra effort or investment ? If you know how to tweak it, this subscription based constant revenue flow is largely what we can call money for nothing. This is why even your toilet maker will happily adopt this model And pray you won't be around when that day will come.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: @cageordie - The revenue stream model

        Id have to say Brother are probably quite happy with HP's subscription model, as it drives the disgruntled & the informed into buying Brothers.

        1. Not Yb Bronze badge

          Re: @cageordie - The revenue stream model

          Brother does have a subscription model now. It's not nearly as "almost required for use" as HPs that locks you into using HP-only ink forever (HP+), but it exists.

  9. GraXXoR

    TL/DR: No way on the gods' green earth would I buy a DRM loaded printer with a frikkn subscription and a bail out penalty fee!!

    Bought an Epson B500DN "Business" inkjet in 2008 and used it daily until 2023 when the main paper feed started to pull multiple sheets through on occasion... I have printed something like 150,000 pages on it overall and it still prints crisply and cleanly with zero clogged heads or misalignment.

    Speaking of ink, it uses incredible $45 ink cartridges the size of VHS cassettes! In 2021 I replaced the Cyan Ink cartridge which had a use before date of 2015! I think I have replaced the cartridges between 2 and 3 times each for a total of around $400! It was the first printer I ever bought where I didn't begrudge buying ink. The value was phenomenal.

    It's also still wicked fast compared to today's inkjets and the ink is waterproof.

    Basically the gods' own inkjet, IMHO.

    So in 2023 I finally bought a Ecotank ET-8550 printer which uses literal bottles of ink rather than cartridges!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @GraXXoR - Untill

      you run out of alternatives because eventually, every manufacturer of any kind of physical goods will do it. And you will receive a universal basic income to be able to pay for everything with your programmable digital currency.

  10. YetAnotherXyzzy

    It seems to me that there are two separate issues here that are worth separating out.

    One is the question of ownership vs. rental. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with renting, and for some people and some products it makes more sense. While owning my printer makes sense for me, it is a good thing that renting a printer is becoming a more common option for those who would be better off with it. Everyone needs to make up his or her own mind here.

    A separate question is, how trustworthy is HP. That's an easier question to answer: HAHAHAHAHAHA!

  11. FuzzyTheBear
    FAIL

    Good way to shoot their last toe ..

    I do not know of a single person that needs specifically a HP printer ..

    Anything else is a better choice .. even an old IBM Selectric running on a parallel port is a better choice imho.

    That's what happens with money and revenues are the only motivations to run a company.

    HP Died a long time ago.. when they sold their lab instrument division it was the beginning of the end.

    RIP ( rest in pieces )

  12. BPontius

    Their printers are the problem

    The ink service is nice, it is HP's printers that need work. Had their LaserJet M139we multifunction printer, which HP's own setup software couldn't detect with a USB cable and couldn't stay connected for the required online telemetry. Constantly resetting and reconnecting cables and power to make it detect the printer or get it back online. After about a two years it now has error codes I can not resolve, door open and paper jam, resolve one and the other comes up. Bought a small HP laser printer to replace it, but this will be my last HP printer. Called their tech support for a printer several years ago I could not get the setup software to detect, after remoting into my system I watched the tech looking through the default printer drivers that come with Windows for a few minutes. Then told me she couldn't find the "advanced drivers", still don't know what those are and I should call the PC's manufacturer. After repeatedly telling her I built my system and I am the OEM, she then referred me to Microsoft because Windows is broken. "Broken" the technical term for; I don't know what I'm doing. Just tell me you don't know instead of some B.S story.

    1. Rod.h

      Re: Their printers are the problem

      I was wondering why you were having trouble then I saw the quick start guide for the M139we and how it's meant to be configured, all via the cloud with the app on your phone telling it what WiFi network will give it access to the internet. The USB is only for locations with no WiFi and it still needs the HP Smart app installed on the PC and a internet connection.

      As for HP-windows driver hell, most of the HP office/laserjet printers I've encountered, have a local copy of the drivers accessible via the embedded webserver -which is probably yet another thing cloudification has killed- but provided I've a device with a ethernet port and a ethernet cable I know that I can configure one of them.

  13. Rod.h

    Ugh, OfficeJet...I ended up dumping the OJ MFP I had as the ink cartridges finally tipped into unobtainium and empty just as I finally got the endless tanks fitted. The head was clogged and refused to let any ink through. Replaced it with a LaserJet MFP and now have the issue of sourcing toner carts of a laser printer that was everywhere 3 years ago

  14. Grunchy Silver badge

    Oh Brother!

    I’m gonna convert my Brother AX-250 into a teletype terminal. I’ve still got quite a lot of fanfold paper from the 80s, so…

    https://hackaday.com/2022/08/04/converting-an-80s-typewriter-into-a-linux-terminal/

  15. Charles Smith

    New York Bookmakers 1900

    The HP print subscription system is the reason I never buy or recommend HP printers. It's a bit like the money making schemes of the private enterprise bookmakers in 1900 New York of Italian origin.

  16. Necrohamster Silver badge

    Who's still using an inkjet printer at home in 2024?

    "As for the All-in-One service, the entry-level plan starts with the HP ENVY at $6.99 per month for 20 pages"

    A fool and their money are soon parted.

    I guess a large proportion of the alleged 13 million subscribers are on this plan, but never use it and can't be arsed cancelling due to the cancellation fee.

    1. Lurko

      Re: Who's still using an inkjet printer at home in 2024?

      I guess a large proportion of the alleged 13 million subscribers are on this plan, but never use it and can't be arsed cancelling due to the cancellation fee.

      As it's a relatively new thing, many will be in the honeymoon period. For some it works and they're happy, others may be complacent or indifferent, but over time some will conclude it's not such a good idea as the marketing told them, and won't renew. With the onerous exit fees few will cancel before the term is up. So the question is how much HP can grow the computer and/or printer as a service model, what the churn will be, and the what their corporate costs of retaining customers are. In TV and cable markets, the subscription model works best when there's not that much choice for the customer, but even there churn is usually only controlled by heavy discounting. Computer leasing and PaaS have been a thing in business for many years, and hasn't replaced buy and own, so I suspect the XaaS model will continue to coexist in the home and SOHO market unless there's some confounding factor. If there is a confounding factor, my guess is far higher than expected levels of loss on XaaS contracts. These are unsecured credit, and will appeal to certain segments of the market who simply aren't to be trusted with disposable cutlery, never mind an easily fenced laptop.

      Taking a step back from the fact that I don't like XaaS, I think this is a storm in a teacup - HP have offered a service not previously widely offered top consumers, and if consumers want to buy it at that price, and HP think they can make more money surely that's a good thing? Nobody complains (much) that Chanel No. 5 is almost as expensive as printer ink, and generates huge profits for the international conglomerate behind the brand, nor do many complain about the price of single malts, often owned by big international combines.

      For the sort of logic-heads such as myself that read the Reg, we don't see the benefit, but nobody is being forced here.

  17. samzebra

    what a steaming pile of ...

    This just screams to me 'Buy a non-HP product'

    What's next? Surge pricing?

    Idiots.

    1. Not Yb Bronze badge

      Re: what a steaming pile of ...

      HP driver window pops up: "I've noticed you're printing a lot of pages right now, would you like to print faster for the next hour for only $1?"

  18. spacecadet66

    Attention HP CEO Enrique Lores: this is your formal invitation to kiss my toned white ass.

  19. navarac Silver badge

    No Chance

    ...are the 2 words that make up my reaction to buying anything HP. Next they want you to pay for subscription to rent the charger to a laptop; or something of the like.

    The quote of their CEO, "Cost-cutting helped, as did efforts to EXPUNGE unprofitable customers", will mean expunge ALL customers if they continue in this suicidal path.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eventually...

    Some C-Suite exec will see the figures showing that sales of printers with subscriptions are heading towards zero at a great rate of knots and try to undo the damage. That said, and given the comments here, they will be years too late.

    As a former HP employee (and now a pensioner) I am torn between wanting HP to die a slow and lingering death for trying to screw their previously very loyal customer base like this and wanting to keep getting my pension.

    I don't own one bit of HP kit these days. My printer is a Kyocera Colour Laser 5026cdw. My only gripe with it is that I need a windows system to update the firmware. As I got rid of my last bit of MS software years ago, I have decided to not do that update.

    HP can as one commentator said, kiss my ass'.

  21. aerogems Silver badge
    Boffin

    Ah printers

    One of those things I remember unfondly, like dialup modems, and CRT monitors. I still have a laser printer around here somewhere, but I haven't used it in probably around 3-years. I think the last time I used it at all was to print off a copy of my eulogy for a good friend that passed away about 3-years ago, and that was basically one page; haven't touched it since.

    Still, for people who do a lot of printing, I can see how this might be better for them. If you're a lawyer, just as the first example that comes to mind as a profession that may do a lot of printing*, it might be worth paying a small premium to have ink be delivered to you rather than hit up Amazon or the local retail store when suddenly you get an error message about being out of ink. As long as this is an option people can opt into, and they are still selling a la carte carts... it's not something I am ever likely to be interested in, but if others are, fine.

    What I still have a problem with, however, is HP and others integrating a bunch of DRM garbage into the carts so people can't refill them or things like that.

    * Yes, yes, they should be using a laser, not inkjet... it's just an example, don't overthink it

  22. Terry 6 Silver badge

    When I was a kid.....

    ....people rented TVs. In exchange for an affordable amount of cash they had a new TV with the latest improvements, and guaranteed repairs.

    I wouldn't want a printer Radio Rentals style. But for some it might be a good idea. So if HP has a deal that included the full package it would make a lot of sense for many users..

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Going the way of the dinosaur

    HP's problem is they have run out of other ways to make money and screwing printer customers more is all they have left.

    I haven't looked back since ditching HP and going to Brother.

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