A Printer Travesty

HP locks its printers down so you can't use generic ink cartridges at a better price. It's a travesty! I despise this practice.

From a recent printer model's description:

Includes HP+ for up to 12 free months of Instant Ink and an extended 2-year HP warranty. This printer is intended to work only with cartridges that have new or reused HP electronic circuitry, and it uses dynamic security measures to block cartridges using modified or non-HP circuitry. Periodic firmware updates will maintain the effectiveness of these measures and block cartridges that previously worked. Reused HP electronic circuitry enables the use of reused, remanufactured, and refilled cartridges.

At least they're saying it out loud. I have had mixed results with generic cartridges in an HP printer for several years. But HP printer business models seem to be getting worse in other ways too. Ink subscriptions that lock your printer remotely when lapsed. Give me a break.

I just bought an Epson Ecotank. (My HP Officejet 8610 stopped working. There's apparently a "problem with the ink system". Hehe, yeah...) Here's hoping that the consumer-friendly idea of squirting ink into a bottle for your printer can't be ruined by some greedy businessman working toward this year's bonus-unlocking KPIs.

Update: 20 Jan 2024

HP just sounds worse and worse... CEO Enrique Lores:

When we identify cartridges that are violating our IP, we stop the printers from work\[ing\].

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

This is a mindset that does not care about the customer. It cares about the bottom line. These guys and so many subscription model businesses these days. Infuriating.

In the linked interview, he talks like he's looking out for the customer; like HP remotely disabling your printer is better than you gumming up your printer with bad ink or installing a virus through a cartridge! No way! Let the customer have some autonomy and responsibility to buy bad ink! And take the stupid chips out of your cartridges and remove the attack vector for viruses. You can't put computer viruses in ink!

It's not better that you hold the printer hostage until the customer pays up to buy your overpriced ink.

Update: 3 Mar 2024

HP is taking it to the next level: Now you rent your printer on the HP all-in plan. Sick.

$7/mo for 20 pages printed a month. $36/mo for 700 pages. Pay for higher plans to get better printers. Never.