HP blocks use of third-party ink in its printers again
Printer manufacturers make the most money from ink cartridges and not from the sale of printers. Printer ink may sometimes be more expensive than the printer itself.
It is an open secret, and some companies try to keep their customers from using cheaper ink cartridges through updates.
Depending on the printer model, a single ink cartridge may cost $40 or more when bought from the original manufacturer. Third-party ink cartridges for the same printer may cost half of that, or even less. More money can be saved if a full set of ink cartridges, including color cartridges is bought.
HP has been at the forefront of this for a long time. A new report by The Telegraph suggests that HP has been at it again recently.
The company released a firmware update for its printers that is blocking the use of cheaper third-party ink cartridges in its printers according to the article. The firmware update, which HP installed remotely, provided that the printers were connected to the Internet, prevents customers from using non-HP cartridges.
Customers who use these third-party ink cartridges already will notice that their HP printer refuses to print after the installation of the update.
HP claims that the update was designed to "reduce the risk of malware attacks", according to the article and that "third-party cartridges that use non-HP chips or circuitry can pose risks to the hardware performance, print quality, and security".
HP notes on its websites that the blocking of third-party cartridges is done to "maintain the integrity of our printing systems, and protect our intellectual property".
HP introduced its Dynamic Security feature back in 2016, blocking cartridges without the functionality from some of its printers. HP claims that third-party cartridges that reuse the HP chip will function as normal even with the update installed.
HP's practice of blocking third-party ink cartridges made the news in March 2023. It is unclear if the new reports are still part of that campaign, e.g., a launch of the updates in select regions, or if it is a new campaign by HP.
Printing, especially ink printing, can be a frustrating experience, even without printer manufacturers trying to block their competition from getting a piece of the ink-pie. Most money is made from selling ink. Frustration explodes when companies start to implement changes that block customers from using their printers.
One way to deal with this is to switch to a different printer brand or type. Laser printers may be the better choice for many users. While more expensive, they do not have the problem of ink drying up if the printer is not used for some time.
On a personal note: we switched to Brother laser printers years ago and have not looked back since. The printers, e.g. the Brother MFCL2710DW, just work and you can buy original toners from Brother or third-party toners, if you prefer so.Advertisement