back to article We never agreed to only buy HP ink, say printer owners

HP "sought to take advantage of customers' sunk costs," printer owners claimed this week in a class action lawsuit against the hardware giant. Lawyers representing the aggrieved were responding [PDF] in an Illinois court to an earlier HP Inc motion to dismiss a January lawsuit. Among other things, the plaintiffs' filing stated …

  1. James O'Shea

    never again

    will I purchase HP anything. Printers, monitors, computers both laptop and desktop, anything at all with the HP logo. Congrats, HP, you are now part of the marketing and sales teams of Brother, Epson, Lenovo, ASUS, Acer, Apple, and even (ick) Dell.

    I need to replace my old monitor for my home desktop. I had three monitors on my shortlist. One was from HP. Now I have two monitors on my shortlist.

    Go forth and multiply, HP. Do it now.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: never again

      It's a shame - I have an old scope with a proud HP badge - from the days when HP was HP

      I even HP <enter> Calculator <enter> own <enter>

      But my 15year-old $99 Brother mono-laser is still running happily on it's n'th cheap replacement drum

      1. Schultz

        Re: never again

        Upvote Enter 2 *.

      2. mattaw2001

        Re: never again

        In case you didn't know, HP computers split with HP test equipment, and the computer side got the name HP because of fear it might have failed without it. Test equipment customers were believed to be able to adapt to the name change to Agilent. (Agilent split again some years ago and the electronic test folks got branded Keysight.)

      3. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: never again

        I still have a WORKING HP Harrison 6291A DC power supply, marked with a 1967 manufacture date.

        When I bought it from Skycraft Surplus, the panel meter was dead and I was able to source a replacement. Thing weighs nearly 25lbs.

        1. Tridac

          Re: never again

          Have a home lab full of HP test gear. Fixable if it goes wrong and just refuses to die. The Agilent name change days were still pretty good, but the new Keysight won't even deal with you unless you can prove you are a company, one man businesses / consultancies excluded. Quite a bit of talk about that on the EEV Blog site, but still more than enough 2nd user kit to get round that. The older stuff had copious manuals, full schemtics for servicing, but the modern kit is useless in that respect and often runs Windows (Yuk) under the skin. How the mighty have fallen...

      4. bpfh

        Re: never again

        I got a Samsung printer for this reason. Cheap toner, rugged (mono printer scanner copier). Samsung is a reputable brand aren't they? They are not going to stop a well known brand are they?

        Then they sold their printer branch to HP :(

        1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

          Re: never again

          Yeah, Samsung has turned a lot of their products away to other companies or straight into shit.

          I've had three Samsung hell phones, each one lasting a year, then the battery forces the rear cover off of the phone and in the most expensive Galaxy phone's case, also breaking the display.

          So, Samsung and HP have fully joined the senior ranks of my shit list. They should be happy that I don't return their crap from 50000 feet.

      5. Displacement Activity

        Re: never again

        I'll call you an ancient 54503 scope (excellent, for 35 years ago), a ProLiant Gen8 (excellent, still going strong), a ProLiant Gen9 (pile of sh**e), and a ProLiant Gen10 (more of the aforementioned pile).

        Never had any luck with HP printers. I wouldn't touch anything branded HP(E) with a bargepole now.

        I'm currently on a Brother consumables contract, which is actually a great deal. About half of what I was paying historically buying stuff myself, and it's all automatic.

        1. Tridac

          Re: never again

          Proliants always were rock solid but they were originally a Compaq product, one of the main reasons why HP bought the company.. Agree about the Gen 8, rock solid workhorses, and a very complete spec out of the box. Can be fussy about sas drives, fans full speed with non HP badged types, but there are workarounds for that Have yet to try Gen 9 or 10, but doubt if they are any better.

      6. Wzrd1 Silver badge

        Re: never again

        "It's a shame - I have an old scope with a proud HP badge - from the days when HP was HP"

        My ancient HP LaserJet 5N happily churns along, only needing a few rollers and occasional offbranded toners.

        Someone gave me a much newer HP printer, it's at the bottom of the river.

        HP is using the lesson of the cheap razors, give away the handles, charge a war price for the blades. Not appreciating the market increase in straight razor sales, of which I own and use a few in rotation.

        They'll keep on going though, can never admit to an error in the judgement of leadership until they join the Edsel.

      7. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: never again

        Yes, and I. Brother. Whenever there's a printer story it's a boost for Brother,because so many people applaud them.

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: never again

      Agree with you on much of this. Ironically, around 6 years ago, I found a deal on Amazon for a Canon MG series printer-scanner, which to this day still functions beautifully. It will print colour, and the cartridges are actually not that expensive (Canon seems to have standardised on a cartridge format that works in many printers in its stable), so having those as backup (and for sale at Tesco) is great.

      That HP locks people in is no surprise... this seems to be a common theme with American companies (see Keurig's weird locking people into buying only their pods for their coffee pod coffee makers). Even Lexmark did this before and if I recall correctly, got smacked for it.

      1. Martin M

        Re: never again

        Not just a US thing - Nespresso did a pretty good job of locking competitors out of their capsule market using patent infringement threats, until they lost a lawsuit in 2013.

        1. Roopee Silver badge

          Re: never again

          Tassimo (Bosch) still does - there are no non-branded pods to fit a Tassimo :(

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A gentle pat of the wrist

        The penalties for this aren't harsh enough, the trials take to long to work their way through the courts, and there is no per-emptive enforcement.

        HP management committed to decadal suicide as a business model back in the Carly Fiorna era. But as long as they can keep juicing this quarters returns, they don't care. Dozens of companies have tried to pull the same stunt knowing that enforcement is slow and largely toothless in the US market. So we fill landfills with printers they sell cheaper than the ink cartridges, single use plastic coffee pods that maximize the cost and waste per cup, along with piles of other hardware the vendor locks up.

        Bar the crap from entering the US market, save the landfill space, and only allow imports of semi-durable goods that meet basic requirements for repair, use of generic supplies, open source drivers, etc. Yeah a laser printer might cost 300$ again, but you may not need to buy a new one for 5-10 years. If the manufacturer can't make one that is enough better to convince you to upgrade, you shouldn't have to buy one. Printers are one of the great examples here, as they are 10, 20, 30lbs of semi-toxic ewaste. Justifiable if you can pund the crap out it like a brother or the OLD HPs, but not if you are junking then every couple of years.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A gentle pat of the wrist

          > Bar the crap from entering the US market, save the landfill space, and only allow imports of semi-durable goods that meet basic requirements for repair, use of generic supplies, open source drivers, etc.

          But isn't HP still a US company? So, even though they are (probably) manufacturing most of the bits overseas, if they do a tiny bit of final assembly back in the Good Ol' US of A then they aren't importing crap printers, just "assorted parts".

          So this junk is in the US market from the get go (and then exported to the RoTW).

    3. whoseyourdaddy

      Re: never again

      Oh well, more for me.

      The HP Z mini series desktop workstations are rock solid, backpackable and have the latest nVidia cards. Own three of them.

      1. Grinning Bandicoot

        Re: never again

        Just wait til you want an upgrade. You'll find that the BIOS has been rigged that you have to kiss that fundament where their brain is located. The commentator early that mentioned the Carly Gang did not go far enough.

    4. navarac Silver badge

      Re: never again

      I'll never buy ANY inkjet printer - whoever makes it. They are a rip-off.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: never again

        There are definite use cases where inkjets have advantages - but general printing of text on paper isn't one of them

        Incidentally, printing volumes started collapsing in the mid 2010s and have steadily trended downwards ever since. The advent of tablets and phablets turned out to be what the market was waiting for

    5. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: never again

      Goodbye HP, my trusted friend

      We've known each other since we were nine or ten

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: never again

      > never again will I purchase HP anything

      Usually people say that and tell days later they forgot all about it…

      …but for my part, I've been boycotting Hewlett Packard and every subsequent owner of the HP brand since 1999, when management thought it would be a great idea to screw the calculators team. Back then HP calculator owners were a close knit community in which the engineers behind the machines participated actively and enthusiastically (greetings to anyone who remembers the famous "life is short and ROM is full"). I'd be surprised if anyone of us ever bought anything HP ever again.

  2. katrinab Silver badge

    "printer owners can't claim damages for being overcharged under federal antitrust laws because consumers who buy products from an intermediary can sue the manufacturer for injunctive relief under those laws, but they can't sue the manufacturer to recover damages resulting from an alleged overcharge"

    Surely the whole argument is that HP delivered this firmware update without a contractual agreement? How does this statement address that?

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Surely the onus is on HP to demonstrate that the update did not block use of ink that had previously been usable in the printers. If they cannot prove that then they are guilty and need to open their wallets

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        The onus is on HP to show us the law that says that its printers can only use its ink.

        Ink is ink. If it's good for one printer, it's good for all of them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Ink is ink. If it's good for one printer, it's good for all of them."

          True, but HP have clearly iterated that they only want those customers who buy their printers and who use them a lot - so that they can exploit the fact that said users will be "locked into" buying HP ink regularly (and no doubt at considerable additional expense compared to alternative suppliers) and for the lifetime of the product.

          Doing this from Day One of a products retail life is fine as long as customers are fully aware of this "lock in" from the start and before they buy said product(s).

          But issuing a firmware update (say) half way through a products life thereby locking consumers into a new "contract" WITHOUT the consumers prior agreement??? That's where HP are going to get a rather big smack on the wrists.

          1. Not Yb Bronze badge

            It's not communicated to the user until partway through the install process, and of course HPs process is designed to convince you to agree with the idea that only HP ink can be used.

            While people who read things like The Register do know about HP's desire for lock in, it's nowhere near as obvious to the more casual tech user who just wants "a printer".

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "It's not communicated to the user until partway through the install process"

              If it's not communicated *** at the time the Sale takes place ***, then it does not form part of the Contract of Sale.

              So, in the UK at least, blocking the use of Third Party Cartridges (which had been previously usable at the time of Sale) ***after*** the Sale had taken place would be illegal.

          2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            That's where HP are going to get a rather big smack on the wrists.

            As far as I am concerned, that smack should be delivered with a very sharp sword of decent weight.

            1. Intractable Potsherd

              ... sideways on.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        surely the onus is on HP to tell customers up-front so they know this before they buy the printer?

    2. Not Yb Bronze badge

      If this worked the way HP seems to want it to, car manufacturers could, for example, claim immunity from lawsuits for "terrible engine design that fails in 10K miles" by just saying that it was the motor oil and gasoline sellers that should really be sued.

      HP really wishes the Magnuson-Moss warranty act did not exist.

      1. khjohansen

        Ford, kinda !

        Certain Ford engines use an internal timing belt (rubber) that will degrade unless certain oils are used - changing to a non-safe (regular) motor oil will cause the belt to fail prematurely.

        1. algol60forever

          Re: Ford, kinda !

          I'm pretty sure I read a tale of how the accountants at a major Euro car firm decided to force the supplier of drive chains to let the stamp last more than a week before replacement. It meant that if you got the Friday+1 stamped chains your replacement cycle might only be 15k miles and not an expected 70k. Cue catastrophic failure. (Could have been VW, I can't say).

    3. anothercynic Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      100% Katrina.

  3. theOtherJT Silver badge

    This feels like an own goal...

    I can see this getting enough traction and generating negative news coverage to the point where people stop buying HP printers - even if HP win the actual case. You can imagine the thought process: Yeah, I think I heard some nebulous thing about HP breaking printers with software updates and there was a court case, not sure what that's all about, doesn't sound great, maybe I should buy epson or canon or dell or something instead. Seems not unlikely that they end up losing more money from customers buying elsewhere than they make out of lock-in.

    1. CountCadaver Silver badge

      Re: This feels like an own goal...

      Except when companies have had bad publicity in the past their sales have risen as the company name is in the media, plus mainstream media don't cover it and people just buy what's the cheapest....

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge

        Re: This feels like an own goal...

        If that were the case, we'd be queuing up to buy software and IT services from Fujitsu, jewelry from Gerald Ratner, etc.

        Not all publicity is good publicity, especially if you're inherently shit

        1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

          Re: This feels like an own goal...

          Isn't the UK government buying IT services from Fujitsu?

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: This feels like an own goal...

            Isn't the UK government buying IT services from Fujitsu?

            What was it again with government (not only UK) and IT?

            Spoiler alert: They suck at it.

          2. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: This feels like an own goal...

            Since they seem to gravitate to buying shit from thieves by choice, this does actually seem to support the contention.

        2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

          Re: This feels like an own goal...

          Not all publicity is good publicity ...

          ... which is why companies which have developed bad reputations change their companies' names: to try to ditch that bad rep. Banks, insurance companies, and communications companies (ISPs/telcos/cable TV) provide notable examples of this.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This feels like an own goal...

            Oh, like Warner Cable Time Warner Charter Spectrum?

          2. twellys

            Re: This feels like an own goal...

            On other news: The UK Government is studying how to change their country's name to Elbonia...

    2. Peshman

      Re: This feels like an own goal...

      I ditched HP for an Epson EcoTank model. Ok, so 300 quid is a bit steep for an inkjet MFD but it came with 6000 pages of ink (Colour and B/W) and a replacement set of refills costs a whopping £30.63 for Epson branded or £16.14 (Amazon prime pricing)...and a 3 year warranty.

      HP can do one!

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        I ditched inkjets for laser.

        You don't actually need to print in color.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          50% of my printing is photos, so I need colour and a laser isn't appropriate.

          I'm glad you're happy with your printer, but I'm not you and you're not me.

          I ended up with a Canon Megatank. Pretty much the same as the Epson, but seems slightly better for photos.

        2. Gene Cash Silver badge

          > You don't actually need to print in color.

          My Brother HL-L3270CDW laser printer prints just fine in color.

        3. rafff

          Colo[u]r laser

          "I ditched inkjets for laser.

          You don't actually need to print in color."

          My Brother laser prints in colour, 2-sided, and has separate cartridges for each colour so I don't need to replace the whole set when I only need black. And, after 5 years of ownership I have not yet replaced even the black toner. And it cost me well below £200 .

          1. cyberdemon Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Colo[u]r laser

            And, they are refillable!

            They still have capacity-counter chips, but they are resettable (just an i2c EEPROM i believe).. in most cases (at least with Brother) the printer itself has a function for this..

        4. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          I ditched inkjets for laser because I don't print frequently enough, so whenever I tried to print, the cartridges were clogged or dried out. My Laserjet 5 solves that problem and meets my printing needs just fine. When I need a color print, I print through Staples and happily pay them to worry about the ink/toner issues.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "You don't actually need to print in color."

          You might not need to, but your requirements are not necessarily the same as others ;)

        6. Tridac

          Some might, but colour lasers are not that expensive now second user. I paid around 1500 for a LJ2 new, around 1987 and that lasted nearly twenty years. Now, an ancient LJ5000, networked, that will still print perfect A3 for schematic cad, and A4. A Dell all in one colour in the house for the odd occasion that a colour print is needed, but gave up on inkjet decades ago. Far more trouble than they are worth...

        7. Terry 6 Silver badge

          That makes no sense. There's all sorts of reasons for printing in colour. Because there are still all sorts of documents that need printing and need to be in colour. You don't use monochrome for a poster that needs to be eye-catching, or a menu, or an invitation, or a warning sign. etc........

      2. Atomic Duetto

        Re: This feels like an own goal...

        I have two of these (locations). Bought as dented box specials direct from Epson for significant discount. Both perfect and still firing up and working on demand whenever required. Been through two sets of bottled ink on each. Had zero drama. The only catch seems** to be a counter controlled waste (ink) box that needs to be replaced at some stage (as opposed to just cleaned). So I bought one of those too.. original is still counting though, several (tens of) reams later.

        It just works. Best printer I’ve used, let alone maintained in decades. I don’t recall hating on Epson (as I do HP/Sony/etal), but if they did have a bad printer reputation it’s been recovered with this product. Just works, easy to refill, cheap.

        ** has a counter that can’t be reset (I believe)

        1. Not Yb Bronze badge

          Re: This feels like an own goal...

          Even on the "no official maintenance box available" printers, that counter can usually be reset, Epson just refuses to do so without an "authorized Epson service center" on many of the cheaper models. Several third party suppliers provide a fix for this (self-imposed by Epson) problem, and as long as you replace the soaked sponge with a fresh one at the same time, it works fine.

          It's mostly one third-party supplier, and the rest are resellers, I've never quite worked out which one is the original hacker though.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This feels like an own goal...

          You can get chip resetters for the maintenance cartridge, and wash/refill the foam if you so wish :)

      3. bpfh

        Re: This feels like an own goal...

        Did the same. 40 euros every 18 months to get all the colours - and currently this reload will only need to do the black one.

        You may at some point need to look at how to change the ink cleaning sponge, which is a bit involved, but otherwise my wife has printed thousands of invoices, client reports and product specs, just need to ensure you print a few full colour pages per month to avoid head clogging.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: This feels like an own goal...

      " even if HP win the actual case."

      Even if? Especially if.

      If they lose they'll have to stop doing it and start the long haul of rebuilding their reputation - if they can.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: This feels like an own goal...

        >If they lose they'll have to stop doing it and start the long haul of rebuilding their reputation - if they can.

        If they lose they pay $$$ to the lawyers and a few c to each owner and then add small print to each new printer / each new software update acknowledging that you allow this.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This feels like an own goal...

        Seems like HP's reputation is already crapped beyond repair. At least, in the IT circles I tend to inhabit, and especially for their printers.

        I expect there are simply too many of us who remember the near-bulletproof LaserJet III and IV units, some quite likely still banging along after years and years. And we've been exposed since then to other HP printers which are ... not like that.

        My opinion on HP printers is fully-formed and essentially read-only these days. I won't be personally buying or professionally endorsing another one ever again.

        Regardless of price, because HP have since taught us that the price on the printer itself pales in comparison to their hostage rates.

        I have no great love nor loyalty to most tech or IT vendors, but I do value the ones who don't abuse the relationship, and they're more likely to receive return business. N.B. we aren't "partners", in spite of many of them trying to claim otherwise, this is a vendor sales-customer relationship. Abuse it, and customers go elsewhere. Lock-ins, especially when implemented after the fact, are well inside the range of "abuse".

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          Re: This feels like an own goal...


          The last 'good' Laserjet that I dealt with was the 4350 series (which was a rehashed 4200/4250 engine with QoL improvements), but I still expect there are still original 4 series and 5 series chugging away, and will continue to do so until they wear completely out. Back in 2002 or so, I was sent over to a customer's place of business to replace the main gear train on a 4si, which has something like 2 million pages on the counter(!) and after that dirty, dirty job was completed and the machine was back in service, is probably good for another 2 mil, null sweat. Damn things weighed a ton, but as long as maintenance was kept up on them, they'll run practically forever. HP stopped making the 4si model in the 90's, pushing customers to replace them with the 5si / 8000 series (same engine, just different skin and formatters, but there's a reason I refer to it as the "mighty" 5si Those were beasts that could crank out pages proper-like...)

          I have no great love nor loyalty to most tech or IT vendors, but I do value the ones who don't abuse the relationship, and they're more likely to receive return business. N.B. we aren't "partners", in spite of many of them trying to claim otherwise, this is a vendor sales-customer relationship. Abuse it, and customers go elsewhere. Lock-ins, especially when implemented after the fact, are well inside the range of "abuse".

          A great many people are discovering this about the Broadcom/VMWare buy; a lot of VMWare partners are also discovering this, and they ain't happy about it either.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: This feels like an own goal...

            Yes, I have a LaserJet 4M which I upgraded to a 4MP by stealing the Postscript card out of a broken one. It was purchased in 1992 and still works fine. Had to buy a USB-to-Centronics cable, and finding the Windows driver for the thing at Microsoft's graveyard-of-old-drivers website took a bit of hunting, but after that it works just fine with Windows 10, and of course driving it with Linux shouldn't be a problem (I haven't had a reason to try yet).

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: This feels like an own goal...

              Surely the W10 generic postscript driver supports Postscript Level 2?

              Otherwise a generic PCL5 driver.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: This feels like an own goal...

        HP have been losing corporate sales for a long time

        Procurement managers noticed a long time ago that HP printers (even the lasers) were the most expensive to run, not particularly reliable and didn't have very high print quality compared to the competition

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This feels like an own goal...

      I think you grossly overestimate how much attention most people pay to tech news.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: This feels like an own goal...

        Cases like this end up on the normal news if they reach court.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: This feels like an own goal...

          > Cases like this end up on the normal news if they reach court.

          Sure they do. Next day ask around and see if anybody non-tech even remembers it.

          1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C

            Re: This feels like an own goal...

            "HP? why do I know that name?". I need a printer. "oooh, HP do printers and I've heard of them"

    5. tracker1

      Re: This feels like an own goal...

      I've stuck to laser printers the past couple decades. My current and previous were HP models though not sure if/when this one dies (it's a decade old) if I'll do HP again.

      The last ink printer I had was from Canon. I didn't print though and though the ink was cheap, it seemed like every time I wanted to print the head was gummed up. I was able to clean it a few times but replaced it twice in the two years I had it.

      I'm the end, much happier with a color laser where the toner lasts me years. I've replaced the black and colors ready once and have another black cartridge for next year when that runs out again. I can go months without printing it do a few hundred pages every day. They're proverbial tanks.

      Yeah, the printer itself costs like 6-8x as much and the toner is 2-4x an ink cartridge, but both last so much longer it isn't funny. Better still if you only need black and white.

      My only regret is not getting one with a duplexer... Then I'd be much more inclined to do dual side printing. I've messed up trying to do that with odd//even printing a couple times and it isn't fun.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This feels like an own goal...

        "My only regret is not getting one with a duplexer... Then I'd be much more inclined to do dual side printing. I've messed up trying to do that with odd//even printing a couple times and it isn't fun."

        I've only ever used HP LaserJets, going all the way back to the original LaserJet Plus (circa 1980-something) and right through to the current P2050N - which just by chance, is also able to support Duplex printing by adding a separate printer tray assembly, that the 2050 sits on top of.

        I got the Duplexer unit for just GBP 35+modest delivery charge and I've not looked back since !

      2. Jamesit

        Re: This feels like an own goal...

        I have a Kodak inkjet printer and I hadn't used it for about 6 years, I tried it the other day and had no problems. I was expecting plugged heads and dried ink.

    6. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: This feels like an own goal...

      For sure I tell anyone who wants to buy a printer to never buy an HP one.

    7. Techette23

      Re: This feels like an own goal...

      The problem is, HP was just first to the gate. I recently had to buy a replacement printer and couldn’t find anything on the Home Use market that is not part of this Lock-in Cartel.

      Are there any color printers left on the US market without it?

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: This feels like an own goal...

        TBH, I'd look at the small business market, or the second hand/off-lease market for color lasers, although some of them are money sinks for replacement consumables...

  4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Instead of hiring lawyers

    Printer owners could club together to hire some programmers to make replacement firmware. The new firmware would not require HP ink and could pretend to be an unbranded device to avoid HP firmware downgrades.

    1. Not Yb Bronze badge

      Re: Instead of hiring lawyers

      I'm guessing you're unaware of the difficulty of writing firmware for a product full of trade secrets and "documented only inside HP" timing requirements. This is not a simple problem, and neither is "cracking the firmware" to remove the ink checks. This could also easily hit the "DMCA takedown" level of hack, especially as HP considers this a "security feature".

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Instead of hiring lawyers

        Guess again and do better next time.

        The ink cartridges have already been replicated. Ask the third party distributors nicely and they will probably publish the protocol required to talk to them if the documentation is not on the internet already.

        There is a remote chance the main controller chip is securely locked down. That would be a first among IoT products. If they really have done a thorough job use a raspberry pi pico for a USB printer or a pi zero for a network printer. Moving paper around with stepper motors is not rocket science. If the required timings for a stepper motor are beyond you, record them with a pi pico.

        Judging by DMCA vs libdvdcss let me respond to any legal threat with a loud wet raspberry.

        1. Conor Stewart

          Re: Instead of hiring lawyers

          You don't know what you are on about. It is nowhere near as simple as you make it seem and likely think.

          It isn't just using stepper motors to move paper around or communicating with the ink cartridge chip, those are the easy bits, what isn't as easy is using the print head, you know the main thing that makes it a printer. Also using the display if it has one likely isn't all that easy either and most of the printers other functions will be the same.

          This also isn't an IoT product (at least as it's primary function) so your comments about that are total nonsense. If HP are going to the lengths of locking down ink cartridges then they have probably also taken steps to protect the other parts of the printer too.

          If manufacturers of third party ink cartridges had it all figured out then why is any of this a problem? Why don't their ink cartridges work with the printer?

          If people could so easily just use a pi pico or pi zero to make a printer then why hasn't that already been done?

          Your comments really make it seem like you don't really know what you are talking about. Your condescending attitude whilst totally missing the point and talking nonsense doesn't help either, no one is saying it is difficult because of stepper motor timings.

          1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

            Re: Instead of hiring lawyers

            If you had mentioned the long sequence of strange noises for print head cleaning I would have had some sympathy. Remembering to switch the sign of the correction for left to right and right to left print head movement less so.

            The display and non-print functions do not have to work on day 1.

            IoT: network connected device requiring a monthly fee. Sounds like a reasonable match. You make my point thoroughly about locking down other parts of the printer. HP were reactive, needing a series of updates to block third party ink cartridges. I expect a similar lack of effort was put into protecting firmware updates: they will secure it when it becomes a financial problem.

            Third party ink cartridge manufacturers did figure it for a few generations of security updates. The current generation has not been solved - so far. I think the time has come to look at fixing the problem from a direction that has not been given multiple generations of updates (that we know of). Instead of trying to keep up with changes to the authentication protocol remove cartridge authentication from the printer firmware.

            People do make 3d printers out of Pi zeros because good 3d printers are expensive. They have not done it for printers because there are still print solutions that do not require spending large amounts of time and money. The 3d pi printer crowd would have loved getting all the mechanical parts for below cost as is available for paper printers.

            It was really tempting to quote your last paragraph right back at you and point out that someone really did say this was difficult because of (print head) stepper motor timings.

            Let's try to calm things down. I think there is much more to a project like this than you think I think. I think you are reading my comments with that false perception in mind. There is probably a big difference in the perceived budget. I did not look up how many people are involved in the class action and what the lawyers are charging. I do expect the lawyers to win (not betting on whose lawyers). I do not expect the litigation to lead to fair ink prices. That is why I look for a technical solution in preferance to legal activity.

            Samba started a bit like this. A complex protocol was analysed and recreated. Samba had many advantages: the effort was not divided by multiple printer manufacturers, models and versions. Samba created a market for cheap NAS boxes that do not require a Windows license.

            The financial incentive for new printer firmware would be third party ink cartridges that are not made useless by firmware updates. I was surprised that there was enough money to support decoding the orginal ink cartridge protocols. Ink prices rose until the margin made it worthwhile. Better cartridge security will allow higher prices. The higher prices will attract a new solution. I do not know what that solution will be.

            1. JamesTGrant

              Re: Instead of hiring lawyers

              I think the ‘timing’ comment was regarding aligning signals (pulses/edges) in firmware - by firmware I think FPGA/ASIC was in mind rather than ‘embedded’ (embedded in this case refers to an OS running some code (sometimes a minimal/lightweight Linux) on a (usually) tiny SoC.)

              1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

                Re: Instead of hiring lawyers

                I did a quick search to see if there were existing projects for open source printer firmware. There is some information available hidden among all the 3d printer results.

                The most useful information came from someone who probably did work on printer firmware (on the internet no-one can tell if you are a dog). According to him, the moving the print head / paper stuff is not a big problem when porting to new hardware. There was a timing issue: the SoCs were crap. They did not have enough RAM to hold an entire page. One row of the page is redered while the previous row is printed. Getting that to work at speed was tricky. This was an old comment so SoC performance and memory constraints may not be such an issue today (and many users would not be bothered by some loss of speed).

                The biggest issue was the printer command language (PCL) as output from software on the host computer. The language is not simple, comes in various versions, includes many corner cases and the printer has to deal with an enormous list of special cases to print the right thing no matter how badly the printer driver converts to PCL. There is an open source implementation (OpenPCL). It might be easier to just have the driver report itself postscript only and use ghostscript.

                Another interesting (but old) post identified the SoC for one printer as a standard off-the-shelf part with the firmware being a Linux based. Although I have low expectations of the effort HP put into non-ink related security I would at least expect them to buy SoCs with the wrong part number printed on top by now.

                I found one person had made a reasonable laser printer and published the hardware and software needed to build it. There was also an open ink jet printer but it sounded like it needed more work to get good results. These avoided the costs of understanding proprietary hardware but did not benefit from getting the base hardware at below cost.

                The required effort massively exceeds the financial benefit for individual users. The numbers get closer for third party ink manufacturers. I am sure HP will close the gap further by increasing ink prices while widening the gap by making small changes to frustrate open source firmware and replacement controller boards.

                1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                  Re: Instead of hiring lawyers

                  "It might be easier to just have the driver report itself postscript only and use ghostscript"

                  You've completely misunderstood the Postscript/Ghostscript mode of operation. Ghostscript is used to print to printers that do not understand postscript. The idea is that Ghostscript renders Postscript into a raster image in the computer, and then converts the raster image into the correct raw bitmap format for the printer. The front end of Ghostscript understands Postscript, the back end understands the bitmap image format of the printer, and wraps that up into the correct in-line commands to let the printer print it.

                  I had a ghastly HP Laserjet 1000 (bought for around £10 at a car-boot sale) that was literally so dumb that it downloaded it's firmware from the host computer every time you turned it on. All it could do was print bitmap images, and the computer, whatever it was, needed to render the image. It fell into the printer category called a WinPrinter, although there were Linux drivers around. I got it cheap because HP decided not to deliver a Windows Vista/7 driver for it, and it became useless to the original owner when they upgraded their PC, so HP have form. BTW, I did get it working as a network printer with an EeePC701 running Ubuntu (I had to use it for something when it became too small for general work) acting as the controller, but the printer was pretty crap even then.

                  Interestingly, most non-Postscript printers pre-IPP have worked like that in Windows and systems using CUPS for decades. Even though it was there, most OS print systems rarely used any part of the printer control language other than the raster images controls. In fact, my ancient HP Officejet 5610 actually prints raw ASCII or PCL2, but unfortunately places the print partially off the printable region of the paper.

                  Going back to your original point, I suppose that you could put something beefy enough to run Ghostscript as the controller in the printer (most new printers do PDF locally for IPP/IPPS now, and Pi Picos exist for exactly this type of thing), but that still leaves the issue of physically controlling the printer hardware. Basic control is probably quite easy, but dithering, higher resolution and colour control is much more difficult than most people think

                  1. J. Cook Silver badge

                    Re: Instead of hiring lawyers

                    Personally, if I were to go down the rabbit hole of building an open source printer, it sure as hell wouldn't be a raster-based printer. FAR too much effort needed to make one from scratch.

                    Now, a plotter with a pen changer? that's something that's doable, and already has a bunch of open source hardware and software to support it...

          2. Tridac

            Re: Instead of hiring lawyers

            While it would be difficult and expensive to physically build a printer at scale for mass production, all current printers really are just embedded system devices with some printer specific io and hardware capability. The LJ2, for example, used a MC68000 processor. If you know what processor family they are using, an astute embedded systems engineer should be able to reverse engineer the frimware. There are any number of firmware hacks for all manner of products out there now, many to get round manufacturer lockin. One of which, concidentally, is one to control fan speed on Proliants to get round the full fan speed problem, with none HP branded hard drives. Did it different way here for a DL380 last year...

    2. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: Instead of hiring lawyers

      That's been tried once before but last I hurd they still haven't got the kernel working.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Instead of hiring lawyers

        And if the team behind that kernel did write printer firmware, the printer would only print onto gnu’s-papers.

  5. Roland6 Silver badge

    HP claimed it went "to great lengths"…

    > … to let customers know its printers are intended to work only with cartridges with an HP "security chip."

    Just visited PC World, none of the HP printers on display or in their (HP) shipping boxes carried any label to this effect.

    As these shops store both OEM and third-party inks, the normal member of the public would assume the printer can take any displayed cartridge that claimed compatibility with their printer.

    Also the “security chip” was only introduced to prevent customers from using third party inks…

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: HP claimed it went "to great lengths"…

      This kind of contract is illegal in most countries outside the US. Even in the US there's case law against this kind of restrictive practice. However, as usual, it will take a big enough class action suit to make them change their practices. They should just hope they're caught colluding with other manufacturers to try and make the subscription-model, the only model.

    2. hedgie Bronze badge

      Re: HP claimed it went "to great lengths"…

      And magically "empty" even when you can hear ink sloshing around in them.

      1. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Re: HP claimed it went "to great lengths"…

        So, at home we are on the “HP ink” subscription. You may have a political disagreement with such things, but it works for us and is indeed *super cost effective*. The deal is ultra-simple, it’s £1 a month, all-in. Whenever we run out of ink, they send us a new cartridge without us asking.

        Clearly there must be some limit to that, I honestly have no idea what it is and we’ve never hit it. I reckon we probably print less than 5 single pages per month plus a couple times a year the odd 50 page doc.

        Our needs are low, but very likely in the modern world extremely commonplace: we get the ability to print whenever, whatever, on the rare times we need to for modern life. For *£1 a month*. Ink used to cost us maybe £35 *twice a year*.

        How cheap is the 3rd party model going to have to be, they can charge me less than one old cartridge every 3 years, make a profit, and still have it that the cartridge isn’t dried up and non-functional when I fire it up from cold having not printed a page for four months? HP Ink works when I do that. Because a new cartridge comes through the door whenever it needs to, to avoid the drying-out problem. Is it wasteful? F* if I care, I can print out the airplane tickets when I need to, and they look fine.

        Honestly, HP have hit the market sweet spot for probably 90% of home printer owners. For £1 a month.

        1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

          Re: HP claimed it went "to great lengths"…

          Logically you're probably right, and for my printing use your setup would certainly be the best one for me. However, HP haven't hesitated to fuck their users in past so don't be surprised if they've got a team of people working out how to fuck you up at some point in the future when they work out they're not making £enough out of you. I won't be buying a HP printer when my Epson dies. I've firewalled the Epson and its drivers and software from the internet so they can't play the same trick as HP with a sneaky update - although it does whinge a lot when I put non-Epson cartridges in it. My next printer will be a laserjet.

          1. Timbo

            Re: HP claimed it went "to great lengths"…

            ""I won't be buying a HP printer......My next printer will be a laserjet."

            errrr....with respect, isn't "Laserjet" a HP trademark? Maybe you just mean a "laser printer"?


            1. David 132 Silver badge

              Re: HP claimed it went "to great lengths"…

              You are technically correct - the best kind of correct.

            2. Headley_Grange Silver badge

              Re: HP claimed it went "to great lengths"…

              I mean laserjet as in hoover. If that annoys HP then all the better.

              1. Wyrdness

                Re: HP claimed it went "to great lengths"…

                I wouldn't recommend that. I've had terrible problems with trying to get my hoover to print.

                1. Sam not the Viking Silver badge

                  Re: HP claimed it went "to great lengths"…

                  You're holding it wrong.

                2. David 132 Silver badge

                  Re: HP claimed it went "to great lengths"…

                  Well, that sucks.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: HP claimed it went "to great lengths"…

                Well said Hedy!

                Your name reminded me of a running joke in Blazing Saddles.

        2. JamesTGrant

          Re: HP claimed it went "to great lengths"…

          Napkin time… your pages to cartridge rate was previously (5*6)+50. Saying that your cartridges lasted 80 pages.

          I’ve just done some Googling and reading the specs on cartridges and coverages and…. You’re absolutely right and I am surprised - that’s even worse value than I thought, and I already thought in-brand inkjet cartridges were scammy!!

          1. Justthefacts Silver badge

            Re: HP claimed it went "to great lengths"…

            I think the usage is mostly head-cleaning. But that’s the reality of the inkjet technology at our home usage rate.

  6. aerogems Silver badge

    Just... wow

    The arguments being put forth by HP's lawyers are probably going to do more long-term harm to the HP brand and printer business than just paying off the plaintiffs. I know they think they have to challenge these in court of they encourage other people to file similar lawsuits, but it'd probably be better for them overall if they just paid off a few grifters looking to make money on top of the efforts of people who were actually aggrieved compared to basically admitting in legal filings that you're a bunch of shysters.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Just... wow

      At this point the only thing HP could do to harm the brand further would be to merge with Boeing

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Re: merge with Boeing

        So... send print job from computer to new HP/Boeing printer. After 3 pages, the printer software decides that all the cartridges are now empty (whether or not they have any ink in them), all the doors on the printer fall off and an oxygen mask dropping down somewhere inside the printer causes a paper jam. Sounds about right...

      2. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Just... wow

        Harsh... but fair.

      3. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Just... wow

        The nightmare merger would be Boeing-HP-Fujitsu Inc.; you'd get planes that will only accept genuine BHF-branded fuel, printers that do nothing but print out writs accusing you of stealing money, and back-end government systems that randomly fall apart because vital components were omitted.

        1. aerogems Silver badge

          Re: Just... wow

          Shouldn't the back end systems incorrectly be providing evidence of your stealing in support of the printed writs?

        2. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

          Re: Just... wow

          Not to mention firmware updates that cause the printers to randomly jump off the desk and smash into a million pieces.

        3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Just... wow

          They could be the Fiat-Chrysler-Renault of printers.

      4. AVee

        Re: Just... wow

        That might work. Normally I'd say that the urge to throw printers out of windows is just to big for them to be allowed near airplanes. But with Boeing you could just throw them out the door.

  7. Blergh

    And this is why I bought a printer that cost a little more but most importantly doesn't use cartridges at all (Epson ET-2850). You just get bottles of ink and squirt it into the comparatively huge ink tanks. I've no idea if I've compromised quality or longevity but I've had it a year, it prints just fine, and the ink tanks are still all 3/4 full.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      That was my alternative when I was looking for a new colour printer. In the end I went with a Brother laser MFP for the scan-to-network function. Another good alternative to HP. OTOH my HP 2030 mono laser just keeps going but that's old-school HP.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Can you give the model. Having recently fought yet again with MacOS to get my Samsung M2070 MFP to work via a Digitus print server, I'm preparing for the inevitable and looking for a compact replacement. I had been thinking of the HP 204 SDW but the brother would be an alternative. Print volume is minimal but I do have to scan stuff quite a lot.

        1. Bent Metal

          Re: Can you give me a model...

          Very happy with my Brother colour laser MFD (DCP-L3510CDW), though from what you say you may want a different model with a feeder for the scanner.

          Duplex printing is a godsend over the last printer I had.

          The Brother is used to print mostly schoolwork for the kids, and as a mono or colour photocopier. I've a separate epson scanner for multipage scans, but the flatbed is useful for anything not conveniently A4 sized.

          The Brother has driver installers available for both Windows and Linux(!), though the Mint laptop finds it and can print to it & scan from it without any extra drivers needed. Amazon for some replacement toner cartridges (3rd party, says "CoolToner" on the box). The black is already installed after a year of use, the three colour toners are still on the "comes with the printer" cartridges - though the yellow will need replaced soon.

          Your mileage may vary, but the above printer has worked well for me.

    2. aerogems Silver badge

      Inkjets are a sucker's bet, full stop. Lasers cost more up front, but more than make up for it on the back end with better quality printouts and far cheaper toner vs ink. Even the smaller color toner carts tend to be rated for around 2,000 pages vs like a max of maybe 500 for an inkjet cart, and they cost roughly the same when you need a new one. Though, honestly, if you aren't printing something pretty close to every day, you're probably better off just using some kind of print shop to do your printing. The money you save on hardware and ink/toner can buy you a lot of printouts.

      1. Peshman

        As I quoted previously, My Epson colour refills cost just shy of £31 for a conservative 6000 pages of colour output. As cost per page goes I'd argue that that's a damned sight cheaper than any colour laser printer and that's for branded refills. The compatibles are almost half the price. How much does a set of replacement colour toner cartridges cost for 6000 pages of colour output?

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Inkjets are a great technology and, as you show, the costs can be reasonable. However, I ditched my last one 20 years ago because I was using it so infrequently, the heads dried up and had to be cleaned every time I used it. That used up ink quite a bit faster than it should.

          1. Brian 3

            I had an ecotank, if you don't use it enough it will dry up inside, in spite of the printer automatically running cleaning cycles every day (which wastes a ton of ink)/

            1. Atomic Duetto

              I have two ecotank’s. I live in Brisbane (hot/humid). One of the printers is on a shelf next to a permanently (365, it’s warm/hot here, and cat) open sliding door overlooking the river. Lately it doesn’t get used (last child is paperless). I just fired it up from my iPad, it’s been 5mths since it was last used. Worked perfectly. InkJet technology will work when built properly (take note HP/Canon/etal), they don’t all dry up/out. It also doesn’t run cleaning cycles until required (after a long period.. which was longer than 5mths it would seem).

              Some products, even though previous experience might suggest they won’t.. just work. This is one of the very few.

              I suspect they did it to restore their reputation, probably at a loss.

              I have no financial interest in Epson.

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                My old machine was an HP and this was in the era before they changed the business model.

          2. talk_is_cheap

            The dry-up issue due to limited use of the printer is the reason why I have my HP printer on the entry-level subscription. I do 100-200 pages a year (I use the scanner a lot) and HP replaces the cartages when they are empty, all for £18 a year.

        2. aerogems Silver badge

          I did a quick skim of the comments on this story, and this is the only one I see from you. So, the quote you claim to have given eludes me as, unlike a certain 4th string vatnick, I don't stalk people and read every single comment they make. I still stand by the comment that inkjets are a sucker's bet. Like everything there's always the odd outlier case such as yours, but it doesn't do anything to change the fact that for 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of people buying printers, they'd be better served with a laser. Or, for that matter, skipping the printer entirely and just taking it to your local office supply store to print it out there. Assuming you pay 100USD/GBP for just the printer alone, if the office supply store charges 10 cents/p per page, that's like the first 1,000 pages for the cost of the printer. Then even using your prices, you're looking at a couple hundred pages for the price of a single ink cart. So, for most people, who probably print fewer than 100 pages/year, it's a far more economical model. The cost of paper probably helps offset the costs of getting to the store as well. If you're a pro-photographer or something, it would make more sense to have something in your home/studio because your time is probably worth more than anything you might save via other methods.

          1. Adair Silver badge

            I'm with you on this—that inkjets are a sucker's bet, especially for domestic users.

            The text pint quality IS inferior, blocked jets are a probability if not an inevitability, and the cost and wastage of ink are both criminal.

            Sure, they thrash a laser ptr. in photo printout, but unless you're regularly needing photo quality prints you're better off using a print shop, who will generally do a far more consistently good job.

            I have an Epson inkjet, but 95% of my printing needs (I work from home) are covered by a mono laser ptr. By all means buy an inkjet, but for heaven's sake do due diligence beforehand and know exactly why that's the best option for you.

            BTW - my router blocks the Epson from phoning home. I really don't need any of that kind of crap going on. :-)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            print shops v ink catridges

            "Or, for that matter, skipping the printer entirely and just taking it to your local office supply store to print it out there. Assuming you pay 100USD/GBP for just the printer alone, if the office supply store charges 10 cents/p per page, that's like the first 1,000 pages for the cost of the printer. "

            WTF? You failed to include the time, inconvenience and cost of travelling to and from a local office supply shop.

            Which unlikely to be local these days. Amazon has put most of these retailers out of business.

            1. aerogems Silver badge

              Re: print shops v ink catridges

              WTF? You failed to include the time, inconvenience and cost of travelling to and from a local office supply shop.

              That's a lot of words to say, "I didn't read your post." Especially considering I covered exactly that about two sentences later.

              The cost of paper probably helps offset the costs of getting to the store as well.

              1. Adair Silver badge

                Re: print shops v ink catridges

                Online "print shops" are a thing. Then they send the prints to my house. :-)

        3. Justthefacts Silver badge

          It’s about the use case

          “ £31 for a conservative 6000 pages”

          So, I’m genuinely astonished that anyone actually prints 6000 pages any more. Or even *600* pages.

          Not disputing that you do, but this is why I have such a big problem with people using a £/page metric. It’s just so far off the world I see around me.

          I’m pretty old school myself. I suspect that 90% of things that I would print, nobody else does. Airline tickets, theatre tickets. I doubt that that I’ve printed 600 pages since the pandemic, total.

          I mean just *how* do you print 6000 pages? In the whole 10 year lifetime of the printer, as a home user?

          And, flipside, how do you end up with an inkjet solution for a business, however low end? Even you sell some soy candles at the weekly market and need to print leaflets, packaging etc, it’s got to be a laser printer or the cost per page is more than the cost of your product.

          I just don’t understand the economics of inkjet for modern use, at all.

          1. chris street

            Re: It’s about the use case

            Scout District. Lots of that runs on paper for things, instructions, etc... tablets are a real bad idea to show kids out in the field where its wet, raining, windy, muddy, and theres nowhere to recharge...

            6000 pages a decade? I can do that in a year.

            1. Hazmoid

              Re: It’s about the use case

              Agreed, anything that needs to be referred to in the field where it can get wet or dirty can be printed and laminated for longevity. Even taking mobiles into the field needs a rugged case and access to power which may not always be available.

              We recently held a camp in Western Australia where we had ~5000 participants camping out for a week. The amount of paper generated was extraordinary, but only as it was the easiest way to ensure all participants saw announcements that were needed.

              I've said it before, but printers are the bane of my life (small MSP) because they always break down at the most inconvenient time and will try to find the most convoluted way to break.

              1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                Re: It’s about the use case

                I've found that even laminated ink jet printed pages suffer in wet conditions, and that is even running them through the laminator several times.

                As soon as it gets punctured or folded, water creeps in an turns the paper into a chromatogram.

                Laser prints, being plastic melted onto the surface of the paper, are much more robust. I try to use a laser printer for any return labels that I print so I don't have to worry about the courier getting the package wet. As a result, I have both types of printer.

            2. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: It’s about the use case

              If your printout is likely to get wet, then you definitely want laser.

          2. Atomic Duetto

            Re: It’s about the use case

            I don’t think many people do, it’s also (as stated) not a very economic way to do things. But, for an outlier, my ex just retrained (nursing degree, was already an BSC Eng.) and still insisted on printing out every page/screen of online course material and assessments with supporting peer review papers.

            I gave up - but there were easily +6,000 pages.

          3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: It’s about the use case

            Lots of companies still print thousands of pages.

            Inkjet is still the preferred method for photographic images and is, therefore, popular with smaller design studios.

            1. Tridac

              Re: It’s about the use case

              Not here, for serious photo work, the only real way is dye sub printing, though very expensive. Would use a colour laser, corrected, for quick proofs, then the local photo lab for final prints...

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It’s about the use case

            our record for an inkjet printer was 17,000 pages in 3 days which killed the printer

            we were working on a project and they insisted on copies of full printed source code to go along with the digital copies before they made the final payment.

            we went and grabbed a brand new epson inkjet (stylus 600 or 700 from memory) and a box full of black cartridges for it (plus a few of the boxes of paper that held 7500 sheets).

            we set the printer to draft mode (fastest print that was clear and readable) and set it going

            the paper tray would empty in 8 minutes and the printer would claim empty cartridge in just under 1 hour

            when the print job finally finished the plastic casing on the printer wasn't the shape it started as (it was visibly deformed and drooping) and you couldn't touch any of the metal components but somehow the print quality was still fine.

            however the next day the printer failed to work at all (head seized on the metal bars it slid on), we decided not to try returning the printer under warranty.

            total cost was around £200 (ignoring the time spent refilling paper / changing cartridges) but as that was less than 1% of the final payment we didn't worry about it

          5. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: It’s about the use case

            >I mean just *how* do you print 6000 pages? In the whole 10 year lifetime of the printer, as a home user?

            That's only 50 pages a month.

            But basically, once you are in the buy once and use for circa 10 (or more) years without any additional consumables purchases, you don't need an ink subscription...

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Depends what you are printing. Inkjet is better if you want to print photos.

    3. hedgie Bronze badge

      And those bottles are pretty big. I bought one for my mother, and it runs very well. Even better, the only software install was for the scanner feature. Printing is all through CUPS.

    4. Kimo

      I have the large format version. Does great photos or really fast monochrome printing.

    5. tatatata

      In my experience, the print heads dry out easily, and a bit quicker with non-epson ink. You'll need to print all colours at least once a week. Cleaning the printhead is quite messy, so I've set-up a cronjob to print a smal all-colour picture every week.

    6. Steve Hersey

      Alas, sometimes the tank printers just ... tank.

      I do the tech for the home business.

      We got a Canon inkjet with the big tanks on my advice because it was well reviewed and the ink cost per page was low, and have had nothing but trouble. There's a leaky seal somewhere, and multiple ink hoses get air-bound every few weeks. Colors stop working. Deep clean cycle wastes a lot of ink. Partner gets real annoyed. Cannot seem to fix it, and no replacement parts for the affected items.

      While this is probably a one-off quality issue no one else has been bitten by, and any identical replacement would likely perform perfectly, we're sufficiently cheesed off with it that ink-tank printers are no longer an option, and the next time this one borks it's going on the curb. One bad experience is enough.

    7. Hass


      Just wait till you need to replace the inkpad in the Epson Inktank printer and also need to pay to reset the print counter. Epson are just as sneaky s HP when it comes to printer shenanigans.

      I have now reverted to a Canon Laser as I tried to do the ink pad replacement myself and gave up.

      If anyone want an Epson EcoTank ET2720 with a full set of colour inks (104) just holla me.

    8. Johnb89

      Epson is it?

      So when I threw away (aggressively) my HP printer because the firmware update caused it to stop using the ink cartridge that had been in it for some time and worked perfectly well, I bought an Epson, because they'd always been good and fine with 3rd party cartridges.

      Then lo, one day, it tricked me into doing a firmware update on the printer... security stuff, it said.

      Shockingly, it then rejected the 3rd party ink cartridge that was in it that had worked perfectly well until that point. So Epson went on my shit list.

      Never again anything HP, and also Epson. Sigh. Good that I don't really ever print anything.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Epson is it?

        We print a fair bit. And much of that in colour. You can't give the Brownies (Mrs. 6 is a Brown Owl) boring monochrome stuff from our trusty Brother..

        And so on.Lots of stuff seems to come through that machine.

        But our Canon multifuncton inkjet machine has tanks that we fill from bottles, and they seem to last forever. We use it enough that we seldom get clogs.

  8. MJI Silver badge

    I can afford to use genuine inks because.

    I bought a Canon printer and their ink is very reasonable.

    Bit more than aftermarket but not enough to not buy them.

    When it breaks I would buy another.

    1. HarryBl

      Re: I can afford to use genuine inks because.

      I've got a Canon Pixma and it's quite happy using non Canon compatible ink bought from Amazon. I've bought various brands and they all work without any problem.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: I can afford to use genuine inks because.

        I have used some Ebay compatibles but the difference in costs was not big.

        Don't use it that often, so no real problem, and the heads don't clog.

    2. mactruck

      Re: I can afford to use genuine inks because.

      I am very happy with my 2021 Canon laser purchase for all scanning and non-photo printing. Same price as the equivalent HP model, and no required monitoring apps to leave running in the background. Since I print maybe 10 times per year and am still on the original toner cart even HP's cheapest ink plan would be much more expensive.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And Apple

    Is software similar to ink?

  10. JohnFF

    It gets worse

    On top of that HP hasn’t updated firmware to work with mesh routers. You can do “right “, including using their cartridge, and HP will still brick your machine because the spyware can’t report your status to Death Star.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It gets worse

      Had a client with an HP Laser that used HP cartridges. But the new models MUST be installed with HP Smart and phone home all the time. Install is so messed up you can't just opt out of the subscription and assume it will still work.

      This guy even had HP toner in the HP printer and more HP toner to install when that ran out. Printer still kept going offline on his home broadband and refusing to print. Even when swapped to a USB cable. Hours wasted fighting that printer.

      Returned to shop, Brother purchased. Installed first time. No problems at all since.

      1. NXM Silver badge

        Re: It gets worse

        Upvoted because as far as I'm concerned, the software is a component of the printer and if it doesn't work then I want my money back.

  11. Kev99 Silver badge

    I bought some ink off Amazon that was half the cost of hp branded ink. Interesting that the ink would not flow correctly until I "cleaned" the cartridges. About every ten pages. Since I'd bought the same brnd before and never had to clean the cartridges, it makes me wonder if the printer was intentionally choking the cartridges.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "until I 'cleaned' the cartridges. About every ten pages."

      I think you'll find that they're wasting your ink in cleaning cycles so that your cheaper cartridges don't last as long and probably clog up your sponge that collects this wasted ink. Some printers require this "waste tank" to be replaced when "full" too.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      I have had that with some, but not all inks on my Canon. It could just be the quality of the ink.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        I have too, so I purchase printers with affordable decent ink. In my case Canon

  12. Robert Moore
    Thumb Down

    Never buy HP anything.

    Friends don't let friends buy HP.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Never buy HP anything.

      Mmmm, a T-shirt idea?

      Imprinted T-shirts are cheaper when made in quantity, so why don't Epson, Brother, et al. subsidize a few thousand anonymously? Just peeked at a site that'll do 2000 for $350... Hey, charge for just the shipping? You'll sell out!

    2. seldom

      Re: Never buy HP anything.

      I wouldn't even let my enemies do it

    3. call-me-mark

      HP Lovecraft?

      Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nfah Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

  13. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    " if a "customer doesn't print enough or doesn't use our supplies, it's a bad investment.""

    If you sell your printers for a price you can't make a profit on with the assumption that you''ll make you money on ink and the customer doesn't print enough or use your supplies then you're a bad business.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Messrs Gillette and Wilkinson-Sword would beg to differ. They got about a century out of the model until the Dollar Shaving Company came along… And then there's the electric toothbrush nonsense. Nope, loss-leading subscription models are likely to be with us forever.

      1. JoeCool Bronze badge

        I very much doubt razor handles are or were ever sold at a loss

        In a competive market they should be sold at cost (but bundled with razors)

        With IP protections, everything should be sold at a profit to maximize the value of marketing and technology advantages.

        1. Philo T Farnsworth

          Re: I very much doubt razor handles are or were ever sold at a loss

          I wouldn't be too sure about razor handles not being a loss leader.

          Sometimes they even give them out for free -- I've gotten a couple in the mail, unbidden.

          My personal point of pique with razors is that after a couple of years, they seem "improve" the cartridge and the older ones become impossible to find, requiring one to "upgrade."

          I'd shave with one of those old-fashioned double edged razors but always carved up my face with one and looked like I'd tried to referee a cat fight.

          I'd grow a beard but I'd rather cause a scene in the supermarket by frightening small children.

          1. JoeCool Bronze badge

            Re: I very much doubt razor handles are or were ever sold at a loss

            As a general business strategy, it may be valid, but Razors aren't the example. That's my main point.

            Sure Gilette might do a marketing promo. But free / under cost product pricing is used for things like gaining market share, or breaking a "moat".

            1. Philo T Farnsworth

              Re: I very much doubt razor handles are or were ever sold at a loss

              I was speaking to the razor issue, only. However that applies to the printer market is certainly up for debate.

              My own impression is that in the consumer arena, the printers are sold as a "loss leader" or, at best, with very little markup from cost, in order to get the consumer hooked on expensive ink -- especially the consumer who prints in very low volume and ends up with dried up, malfunctioning cartridges after just a few pages.

              But that's just an impression from back when I had an ink jet printer ages ago. I became frustrated with their unreliability and switched to laser printers and have been happily loading refilled aftermarket toner into both my ancient HP and Brother printers for better than twenty years.

              I suppose ink jets have improved over those two decades but I will cede the floor to others with more experience on that topic.

              BTW, I, of course, meant to write ". . . I'd rather *not* cause a scene. . ." above but, come to think of it, it sort of works either way. (Note to self: make optometrist's appointment soon)

              I do look quite awful in a beard. Not that I don't look quite awful without one, mind you.

          2. Bebu Silver badge

            Re: I very much doubt razor handles are or were ever sold at a loss

            《cause a scene in the supermarket by frightening small children.》

            I thought its "cause ladies to faint and frightening small children" but I must be confusing that with an excited donkey. :)

            I am astounded that Gillette, WS etc have devised so many incompatible ways to attach a razor cartridge to a handle. Although a few years ago I found a two decade old handle in my old travel kit that fitted a then current head so perhaps they recycle designs every twenty years or so.

            I wonder how many blades per cartridge is the limit? 6? I started with a three bladed Gillette or WS with guard wires that was being given away in a shopping centre (mall) 30 years ago (Remington stubble grinder before that?) Those were probably the best shave but clogged quickly (guard wires.) Obsoleted by the 4 bladed replacement (sans guard wires) but *much* more expensive. Using 5 bladed one from Aldi at the moment (until they change to a Krapistan manufacturer.)

            I wonder if Victor Kiam* could get his Remington boffins to create a laser razor (that'll amaze ya :) that targets each hair strand individually (with AI of course:) and fire a tailored high energy pulse to sever the strand and smoothly seal the stubble. Actually the lasers could zap the hair follicle as well. :)

            *Apparently no longer extant.

          3. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: I very much doubt razor handles are or were ever sold at a loss

            >I wouldn't be too sure about razor handles not being a loss leader.

            Trouble is, yo probably think the handle is worth more than it actually is.

            Going through the catalogues of marketing giveaways, I suspect the true cost of many mass market premium razor handles is sub 50p.

        2. JamesTGrant

          Re: I very much doubt razor handles are or were ever sold at a loss

          In the UK, in 1999, Gillette sent every man who turned 18 years old a metal handle 3 blade razor through the post on their 18th birthday (was it a Mach 3? What a cool and ridiculous product name, so 90’s!) with a gel/foam can and a set of razor heads. I still have mine. I thought it was super cool - it still is the wet razor I use to this day so that’s some amazing marketing.

          It never occurred to me until today that I’ve no idea how they got the names, DOB and addresses of basically every teenager in England - creepy.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: I very much doubt razor handles are or were ever sold at a loss

            >It never occurred to me until today that I’ve no idea how they got the names, DOB and addresses of basically every teenager in England - creepy.

            Electoral Role.

            If you were on the Electoral Role, political parties, companies etc. could pay to blindly send a mailshot to all newly turned 18 voters. Obviously, if you were on the public Electoral Role, they can directly send personalised mailshots to you.

            Similar applies to births, deaths and marriages.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " if a "customer doesn't print enough or doesn't use our supplies, it's a bad investment."

      If you think your customers are an investment you're doing it VERY wrong.

      The customer invests in buying your product, not the other way around.

  14. BartyFartsLast

    So the security chip has only one function?

    To allow them to litigate against companies that copy their security chip?

    1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge

      First chip designed by lawyers?

    2. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

      If its function is actually customer resource management, maybe we have it designated the CRM-114 unit

      Mein Führer! I can walk!

  15. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Even their 375ml carts are expensive

    The 375ml carts (claimed ~20,000 pages) used in the big PageWide printers cost £270 each from HP works out around £720 per litre, so still not cheap, but least it's possible to get "Genuine HP ink" for under £1000 per litre :-) </sarc>

  16. PRR Silver badge

    There are only a few brands on the SOHO market now, and they are eating each others' profits. Two ways this goes:

    * A few fish eat all the others. Look at the car business: all the original General Motors companies, plus Bentley, Willys, Rambler, Chrysler, R-R, LandRover. Pretty soon little FIAT and Mahindra will sell 99% of all the cars in the world. Or airplanes: the surviving airliner brands are amalgamations of other out-leveraged plane makers plus government subsidies. Where did Lenovo buy its name?

    * Some random small fish will have a run of brains/luck and grow into most of the whole market. Ford Model T. MS-DOS. Epson dot-matrix or HP inkjet. This is easier on a rising tide in an empty market, such as the T "putting America on wheels". But the Chevrolet came into that market and stole it from the T. Chevies of various brand-badges (Olds, Buick,..) dominated the roads for decades.

    It would be interesting if some Shenzhen startup managed to peddle printers from good to deluxe, at vendor-friendly markup, without ink-piracy. They might have to buy distribution by buying an old-line brand name. None of the current incumbents look like easy pickings.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Eh, Brother has come from essentially nowhere and made major inroads on the printer market.

      I remember when Canon had all the laser printer patents and everything was essentially a rebranded Canon, including Apple Laserwriters. I don't really see Canon out there now.

      1. R Soul Silver badge

        Which is a very smart move on Canon's part. IIUC they still make most of the world's laser print engines. Which they only need to sell to 10-20 manufacturers. That greatly simplifies things for Canon because it's their customers who get stuck with the costs of distribution, support, advertising and marketing, dealing with retailers, credit management, and so on.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Eh, Brother has come from essentially nowhere and made major inroads on the printer market."

        FWIW, Brother have been in the printer business since the 8-bit days. Started with sewing machines ion the very early 1900's, got into typewriters and so printers was a natural progression for them. I remember doing repairs on Brother dot matrix and daisy wheels decades ago. I'm currently using a Brother HL5100DN mono laser :-)

      3. Barking mad

        "I don't really see Canon out there now." Do you mean in shops? They still sell printers (including a really tiny one that doesn't use ink) and they are an excellent choice for photographic prints.

      4. PRR Silver badge

        > Eh, Brother has come from essentially nowhere and made major inroads on the printer market.

        Brother was founded in 1908. They made sewing machines, some better than German machines, one named BROTHER. Another major product was typewriters (obvious connection). As for printers, they made Centronics' casino report printers. Which is before the IBM 5150 PC and its Centronics port. Brother escaped the sinking of Centronics and made many printers under several names.

        I still see Canon printers in the larger sites.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      >It would be interesting if some Shenzhen startup managed to peddle printers...

      Once you start looking beyond PCWorld - there is Kyocera, Konica Minolta, DEVELOP ...

      The trouble is that whilst there has been a degree of standardisation in the enterprise space - it seems many have standardised on the Konica Minolta engine etc., the consumer market is still seen as something special.

  17. bigtreeman

    subscription printer

    You have become numb to paying for subscription software,

    so what's wrong with subscription printing ?

    If you tire of paying for Office365 subscriptions,

    you can uninstall and install LibreOffice.

    We have known about HP ink for a very long time now,

    you bought the HP printer knowing how much it would cost.

    My last Fuji-Xerox printer could use really cheap generic toner,

    RIP, it has now gone to printer heaven.

    Stop whinging

  18. david 12 Silver badge

    I'm with HP on this one.

    We don't buy genuine ink, and we don't buy HP printers, but we do have a problem with counterfeit components -- things that claim to be SGI, or TI, Infineon or Vishay, but aren't.

    I'll buy "Golden Elephant" brand ink, but I don't want anything in the factory that /claims/ to be something that it isn't, even if the claim is something hidden inside. I've got enough problems with that already.

    1. abend0c4 Silver badge

      Re: I'm with HP on this one.

      I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it's not actually a "Golden Elephant"...

  19. Miss Bonny

    Never again

    I got caught in the HP ink subscription hellscape. I printed a fair amount, went over my allowed pages, and was charged accordingly. Then I ran out of ink and had to go get more (HP) ink from the store. The printer acknowledged the purchased ink cartridge, so a new one was not sent on schedule, but the monthly charges continued.

    After being double-charged for about 6 months, I canceled the ink service. I was charged $24 more dollars AND I am expected to return the ink cartridge. I plan on using it for target practice when the weather warms up. Might add the printer to the target pile too. So I will NEVER, EVER purchase another HP product. Which is too bad because I liked the functionality of the printer.

  20. Ideasource Bronze badge

    Since capitalistic competition has succeeded in innovating to the point of nothing new to innovate. We should graduate printing technology to the public domain.

    The interfaces of capitalism were only ever justified by how they spur innovation.

    And for everything that can be done then logically eventually you're going to reach the limits of practical application.

    Time to turn printing into a public utility. And let all that manpower and economic activity go to spurring innovation and somewhere else that is still more primitive and so needing further development.

    And so redeem the benefits and gained efficiencies for all of society. It's to run the gauntlet to completion. It's proven itself .

    time to take the IP out of the commercial pressure cooker and unleash fully for casual use with access as assumable as the air we breathe.

    Or is all effort to be for nothing in perpetuity?

  21. John in Brisbane

    Hello from Brisbane. This was an issue here that came to a head years ago (like, 15? 20?) and it was found that the printer makers could not void warranties or prevent their printers from working with non-OEM ink. Refills and those tank-pipe set-up became very popular. How this is only now being dealt with in the US?

    FWIW, we don't have lemon car laws like you folks, where a full refund must be given if a certain number of faults occur. But we do have decent rules about things like warranties etc. It is seriously unexpected that this is a current issue over there.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Would not be surprised if uses of HP printers in Brisbane are getting exactly the same firmware updates from HP as everyone else...

  22. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Apple Laserwriters

    When did Apple stop making printers?

    Looking at ( they only sell 3 HP printers that aren't even rebranded as Apple products.

    "Laserwriter" was an awesome brand name. Sad to see it's dead. I guess it's the same as "LaserJet"

    (edit: pre-2000 according to Google... damn, I'm old)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kick me!

    HP should also put a sign on their own butt saying "kick me!"

    Any retail consumer buying HP printers needs their head read. The consumables are overpriced and unreliable. The printers themselves are junk these days. We went with Brother for our laser and never looked back.

    We (stupidly) bought an HP monitor at the start of the pandemic. Blurry pixels near the edge and it make very strange ticking noises when idle.

  24. STOP_FORTH Silver badge

    Lock in loser

    Not only does my HP ink not work in my HP printer, I can't even fit it into my Canon printer.

    Absolute twunts.

  25. Bernard Peek

    It's different in the UK

    The Computer Misuse Act seems to apply here so customers shouldn't need to sue.

    That feint hum is coming from the graves of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard.

  26. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

    The only HP I will ever buy again... is HP Brown sauce

  27. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    The calculators though

    I have several old HP calculators. They, and the support behind them, were superb - 30-40 years ago. They effectively closed down their calculator division completely around 2001. But the ethos and quality lives on... companies like SwissMicros make 'clones'. HP used to be a company that stood for something. And unfortunately it's just changed into a 'find the most profitable and least ethical way possible to make money from consumers' organisation. Yes, we still buy some HP stuff, like servers and desktops, but I warn people off their printers. Not that the other manufacturers are much better.

    As far as printers are concerned, manufacturers just view them as cash cows.

  28. Cynical Pie

    Shiz like this was why when our old HP printer died 2 or 3 years back we went with a Canon one (from Aldi's 'Aisles of Wonder' one Saturday morning).

    Its still not keen on 3rd party cartridges but works eventually.

    Also Canon don't force as much bloatware on you when setting stuff up as HP do and it works far better wirelessly with our phones and tablets than the HP one ever did

  29. bsilva66

    I was on HP ink subscription

    Inkjets, in particular HP ones, have been a terrible waste of money for a long time, at least for anyone printing more than 5 pages a month.

    I once got a cheap HP inkjet printer/scanner combo. I printed very little, and liked the promise that I would always have ink when needed, and wouldn't have dry ink and clogged heads whenever I needed to print after a couple of months on the shelf. And the ink subscription worked for me, as we had a low volume of prints every month, I was even accumulating printing credits.

    And then... "Suddenly", all the kids were at school, reports and exercise sheets to print, even the kindergarten one needed some exercise pages printed from time to time, and the accumulated credits were enough for two months usage only. So HP turned the screws - proposed a very advantageous (for them) "subscription upgrade", with proportionally higher costs, or a "pay per page" expensive model.

    I guess some manager calculated the values they could extract from customers that would be just "low" enough that customers wouldn't investigate a replacement - but they got it wrong with me. I checked the running costs that would bring me, and determined I could buy a multi-function colour laser / scanner and pay it in ~3 years for the difference in running costs and supplies.

    So, I got a Brother DCP9022CDW > 8 years ago, and only had to buy toner (generic, cheap) and paper ever since. The only thing it complained about was a future need for a replacement waste toner box, which I stupidly bought one year ago and is sitting gathering dust, as the old one is still not full. I guess I'll have to open and clean it one of these days, but even the fans keep working without an issue. Even if I have to replace the drums it will still be cheaper than an inkjet, in particular one guzzling HP brand ink.

    Hopefully with this lawsuit, more people will realize that inkjet printers, in particular those locked down with proprietary ink, are a false bargain. They do have their uses (photo printing) but laser printers pay for themselves in the medium/long run.

  30. Arrow Bill

    I purchased an inexpensive HP 2600 inkjet, which offered instant ink. But what they didn't explain was from now on you can only use HP instant ink.

    I purchased HP non instant ink from Staples, the printer would not function.

    , until I purchased another instant ink cartridge. If I had known that at the start I would have said NO!

  31. Disgusted of Cheltenham

    Paper next

    My HP dates from when it played nicely with linux, but it was a surprise to find that they are now offering a paper subscription too since they know how many sheets have been used, and so for 'just' £1.99 a month you can get...knotted.

  32. Lee D Silver badge

    Sell me a printer that doesn't lock me in, then.

    Because it's not a business model I would ever want to participate in. Same as if Ford told me that I have to use their airpumps to blow up my tyres and that they can set the price how they like.

    That said:

    - I haven't used inkjets / ink, personally or professionally, for nearly 20 years now. Why on earth would anyone?

    - I haven't needed to upgrade my personal printer since 2000. It's a Samsung mono laser (parallel port!) and it just keeps going. (Alright, I need an Intel NetportExpress - with a 386SL chip inside! - to network it, and a driver that only CUPS has, but it works) The last consumable replaced was a paper feed roller that had worn down from a thick toothed gear-like roller to a tiny smooth pipe... I honestly didn't think it was the same part when it arrived and I needed to change it out. The toner, I just fill its refillable toner cartridge from whatever toner I have lying around.

    - I haven't *needed* to print, at home, for over a decade. At work, my print account is the lowest of every user, despite being the IT manager. I only print for other people, not for me.

    And much of this is because of printer manufacturer's business models, and a changing world. My books aren't paper anymore. My flight tickets aren't (flew with daughter with electronic tickets, faster, no problems, and we each had a backup of the other's tickets). Tax returns are online. My pension statements are online. My payslips are online. Every single one of my utilities are online. The stuff that's actually on paper now is the stuff that refuses to upgrade because they're luddites. The people who demand paper now are people who haven't got into the 20th century, let alone the 21st.

    And if I do ever want some fancy photos printed? Next-day online service with proper dye-sub printers, or take them into a kiosk in a supermarket / Boots, and get them within minutes. Why on earth would I print them at home with stupendous ink costs on either cheap paper or very expensive photo paper, and risk them fading over time? In fact, the last set of photos that I wanted to keep were turned into 35mm slides and put into a Slidelight - which is basically a long, thin, white illuminated surface that you hang on your wall. They look incredible. And they all came from JPEGs.

    Your business is dying already, and you think the way to keep it is to put a strangehold on the few naive customers you have left that were willing to part with stupendous money per page/photo?

    1. rg287 Silver badge

      And if I do ever want some fancy photos printed? Next-day online service with proper dye-sub printers, or take them into a kiosk in a supermarket / Boots, and get them within minutes. Why on earth would I print them at home with stupendous ink costs on either cheap paper or very expensive photo paper

      Buy a tank printer. There's a small but non-trivial number of amateur photographers (along with businesses) who need to bash out proofs before they order n quality copies, or a couple of prints for a photo club monthly competition. They don't necessarily want to spend a few £ per print for something which is only being displayed for an evening. Bulk ink is cheap, and the printer can't tell the difference between OEM and 3rd party. Higher upfront cost but lasts for years and fundamentally you get a better quality printer for your money.

      Of course yes, if you want archival-grade photos with a protective coating, then that's absolutely something to be outsourced for high-end inkjet, dye-sub, or something like Harman Lab's tri-colour laser process (which "prints" digital files onto traditional photographic paper and gives true continuous tones - you only get halftone on many inkjets. Particularly nice for B&W where tone is everything).

  33. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    Here is a radical idea that will never get implemented because it will reduce profits too much.

    Printer Manufacturers, if you are financing printer costs through the sale of cartridges, why not do this.

    Increase the cost of each printer to what it costs to manufacture, adding a reasonable profit margin. The actual mechanics of printers haven't changed really for about 40 years. I don't believe that it costs as little as £100 to manufacture an inkjet.

    Ideally, to reduce waste, I'd like to see ink cartridges banned, and the manufacturers using refillable ink tanks. As such, you'd just buy a bottle of each colour ink. But at a minimum, I'd like to see the cost of the cartridges reduced to £3 or £4 rather than the £20 they are now..

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      The root cause isn't the manufacturers, it's consumers. People walked into the shop and bought the cheapest printer on the shelf that did what they wanted. They didn't care about running costs they cared about ticket price. The manufacturers responded by lowering costs until they were losing money and so made it up on the ink. Now they run the subscription model because the tech has made it possible and, more importantly, consumers are used to paying a subscription for bloody everything now.

  34. Charles Smith

    I won't accept compensation from HP

    I used to buy HP products when they were well designed and engineered, even though they were a bit pricier than alternatives. Now that the suits, marketers and bean counters control the castle I refuse to buy their products and their associated nasty tricks. So I won't be eligible for, or indeed want, any compo from HP.

  35. Johnr

    Epson just did this

    I had been avoiding HP products for years . A good company screwed by the bean counters . I was really happy with My Epson Workforce 38 $25 a set 70 with the aftermarket cartridges a reasonable(?)

    I made the mistake of downloading a firmware update (I had done this before with no issue) Voila! Borked the aftermarket cartridges immediately . I had to order a quick Gen-U-Ine set at Amazon for the low low discount price of $79. I had 2 complete sets of aftermarket. I ordered a used printer on Ebay for $50 and disabled the Firmware update and problem solved for now. It looks like the world is out to squeeze every last penny from us

  36. rg287 Silver badge

    Never buy a cartridge-based inkjet printer.

    If you're not going laser, spill the money for a tank printer. £230 for an Epson Ecotank MFD (or canon equivalent) feels steep for an inkjet (the non-scanner/MFD version is <£200), but it's photo-quality and you can feed it with any ink. And even the official ink is cheaper per ml than in a cartridge (not that the printer knows the difference).

    £200 isn't that many cartridges away from a £60 MFD.

    1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

      Just to muddy the waters, HP do a 'tank' printer too.

  37. Herring`

    Interesting case

    HP are hardly the only company who have (after you have "bought" their product) decided to change the functionality/pricing to screw people over. There are plenty of rants on YouTube on the subject. If a court could rule that this sort of bait & switch behaviour isn't allowed, that would be great. If not, I'll be desperately looking to find products that don't connect to the internet.

    1. CatWithChainsaw

      Re: Interesting case

      10-20 years ago, internet connectivity was a premium and hard to find. Nowadays, internet connectivity is so ubiquitous that one would be forgiven it's mandatory, with how hard it is to find things that don't connect. Most TVs are "smart". Most doorbells are "smart". Most refrigerators are "smart". And they all chip away at your sanity, little by little, as their "smarts" are put to use for the manufacturer and not you.

      1. navarac Silver badge

        Re: Interesting case

        Basically, don't buy anything smart. My Fridge/ TV, doorbell, etc etc does NOT need to be connected to the Advertising/Lock-in/Web. If you buy this stuff you are asking to be the subject of data gathering and unwanted Ads.

  38. sketharaman

    Reverse Polish

    From one of the greatest inventors to one of the worst grifters in Tech - this one page says it all.

  39. heyrick Silver badge

    Dear HP

    This article has been up an hour and a quarter and it's already had 154 comments, many of them less than positive about your business.

    Maybe, just maybe, pay attention? Because this isn't the Daily Mail comments section. I wonder how many people participating in this discussion have influence on their company's procurement process?

    Once upon a time you were known for solid unkillable printers (I saw a LJ2 that survived the roof caving in on top of it, some light damage that a replacement drum fixed). Now? Well, just read the comments... Where did it all go wrong?

    1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

      Re: Dear HP

      They don't care. They know that consumers will keep buying these things. They also know that fewer and fewer people are buying printers so want to entice them with seemingly cheap up-front offers, and then keep 'em coming for more ink.

  40. Roo99
    Thumb Down

    It's sad really, I worked for HP during the 80s when HP was a well liked and respected company The rump of so-called "CEO"s since then have ruined a great company. Bill and Dave must be spinning in their graves

  41. rboodro

    boycott HP

    I've been using HP for many years. I've been able to use 3rd pty carts for a long time, until last year a firmware update which I did not agree to install rendered it useless. I replaced the carts with fresh ones I had in supply, wondering if that may fix the issue (also 3rd pty). it did not... I searched for HP carts and found that for the price of them I could simply buy a new printer from another manufacturer who is not anti-competitive. I ended up with a nice new cartridgeless printer which allows me to simply dump the liquid ink directly into the printer. I know HP has started making these too, but they've utterly destroyed their brand for me. I happily tossed my HP in the garbage, and I will never purchase anything made by them ever again.

  42. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Prevent Ink Cartridge SPYING!

    Buy only HP branded ink cartridges with the embedded security chip!

    Without HP's built-in protection your ink cartridge could steal your private information, like your social security number or credit card numbers, and <gasp> print them on paper for anyone to see!

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Prevent Ink Cartridge SPYING!

      You say joke alert, but give it a few years. They'll squeeze AI in there somewhere, like "because of AI your printer cartridge will know what you're printing and can read what you print".

  43. Alf Garnett

    Haven't touched HP s**t for years

    12 years ago I bought an HP computer. I took it home and promptly put Kubntu on it. A few days later, it locked up. There was nothing to do but pull the plug. It would do this every few days. I found out what the problem was. There was some sort of bug that caused this problem in any HP running linux. Also that HP didn't support linux (don't know if its still true) so wasn't interested in fixing the problem. From that day on, I made up my mind not to buy any HP anything. Four years ago I needed a printer, so I got a Canon laser printer. It works just great for me, and it has no problem with toner cartridges made by other companies.

  44. mrw9c

    HP is a snarkey company, not only because of the ink issue, but because their "customer service" is non-existent. I will NEVER buy their products again.

  45. Mike Friedman

    After HP bricked a printer I owned (for not using their ink), I vowed never to purchase their products again. They replaced the bricked printer, but it failed quickly. Utter garbage.

    Sad too, because I'm sure there are thousands of Laserjet 4000s and Laserjet 5s still printing every day. The 4000 was the pinnacle of their printer engineering. Those things are made like tanks.

    All Brother, all the time now. They're better made, don't install tons of bloatware and they don't care if you use generic ink. And their lasers have a separate drum and toner which is less wasteful.

  46. david1024

    So, obviously, we are not hp's target market

    I am not sure who is yatill buying these... Obviously, we don't matter and HP is making plenty of money without us. I don't feel like yelling at the wall is getting things done here and is getting tiresome.

  47. ShawnH

    I will never buy another HP product. I trashed my HP printer and bought a Canon. Funny thing is I DID have a HP ink subscription with genuine HP ink sent to me by HP and it locked my printer anyway saying the cartridge was fake. The cartridge that HP sent me from my subscription I had for years. Not only do I hate the forcing of genuine HP ink when that was not part of the deal when I bought the printer, but their protection is so aggressive that it blocked their own cartridge.

  48. Barking mad


    I like Epson ink which is why I buy Epson printers.

  49. heyrick Silver badge

    Two hundred messages later...

    ...the takeaway seems to be "buy a Brother" (and "don't touch HP").

    Anything to add?

  50. eionmac

    Due to reports on HP, and experience of buying a second hand HP printer costs to run, many years ago when I started to use printers at home, I enquired for small home business printers and I was recommended OKI printers by a PC Magazine and friends. Now 40 years later I am on my second OKI printer (Black and White LED type called 'laser'). Good value, and if wanted I can get 'replacement toners' from 3rd party supplies that work.

    However my printing is down from 400 pages or so per week, as I have now retired so I think my current older machine will see me out, as i buy the large volume toner (10,000 pages rated

    Did i say I use OKI and they are OK.

  51. Oldtreker

    It’s crazy that companies think they can get away with stuff like this in a world of instant communications. These CEO’s should know better but they don’t. This could cost them big bucks just ask the makers of Bud Light.

  52. Richard Pennington 1

    Printers for special purposes

    I have a few printers, some for specialised purposes. I also have zero brand loyalty. Among my printers, I have a Brother printer which can print up to A3 size, and an Epson which spends most of its time switched off.

    The Epson is part of a setup for creating images for dye-sublimation transfer to mugs. As such, it uses special "sublimation" ink, which is *not* standard Epson ink. I was also placed under instruction when I bought that printer, *never* to allow the driver to be updated or modified. In particular, I ensure that that particular printer is powered off whenever I restart the iMac which drives it. I frequently get a popup asking me to power up the printer at iMac startup, but the answer is NO. Also, the iMac security settings are arranged so that any modification ( / update) to software requires explicit permission - which is routinely refused.

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