You’ve owned your printer for a year or more, and have happily used off-brand ink cartridges during that time. Suddenly the manufacturer says you can’t do that anymore, and suddenly orders the printer you own to not accept the ink cartridges of your choosing.
Have you tried using you HP printer recently? If not, if you use certain models and keep your expenses down by using third party ink cartridges, you might find you have a “damaged” cartridge that needs replacing before the printer will operate. Open up a new cartridge that you’ve been keeping on hand and if it’s branded Office Max, Office Depot or anything other than “genuine HP,” it’ll be “damaged” too.
As they used to say on the Outer Limits, there is nothing wrong with your ink cartridges. HP has taken control of your printer and trained it to not accept them anymore.
It seems that HP rolled out a firmware update for certain of it’s printers back in March with a DRM-like time release surprise, so that on September 13 the affected printers would reject any cartridge that doesn’t contain a “genuine HP” chip. HP’s rationale? “We sold you the damn printer at less than cost so we could make money selling you ink, so you’re damn well going to buy the ink from us.”
Those words are mine, of course, but they pretty well sum it up.
As far as FOSS Force has been able to determine, the only printers affected so far are Officejet Pro 6830, 8610, 8615, 8620, 8625, 8630, 8640, 8660, x451dn, x451dw, x476dn, x476dw, x551dw, and x576dw — but that’s subject to change. Right now, if I owned an HP printer not affected — and I do — I wouldn’t buy a case of off-brand cartridges, at least not without the understanding that I might get stuck with them.
This is wrong on so many levels that I don’t have enough fingers and toes to figure it out.
Pre installed DRM (Is that the right term? Is an ink cartridge digital?) on a brand new in-the-box printer you’re carrying out the door at the local Best Buy store is bad enough — but at least you presumably knew at the cash register that saving money by buying Office Depot cartridges is a no-go and that before the printer dies and meets its maker you’re going to get well acquainted with the little blue dot decorated with the letters “HP.”
Even that should be illegal. The machine became your property the minute the cash registrar printed out a receipt, and you should be allowed to void your warranty by doing whatever you want with it.
But what HP did went well beyond that.
Taking away the function after the sale would seem to border on what’s actually criminal instead of just what I believe should be criminal. This would seem to be a case of HP messing with property that’s not theirs to mess with — a real what-gives-them-the-right scenario. It’s vandalism.
There are broader implications. I fear that more of this is what we can expect from the Internet of Things.