HP Backtracks on Third Party Ink Cartridge Blocking

/ 5 years ago


A couple of weeks ago, HP got into quite a bit of controversy as their latest printer update would render third party ink cartridges useless by displaying an error message that the cartridge is missing or damaged. That issue gathered quite a lot of negative feedback from the media and users as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and now it seems that HP has backtracked on this and issued an apology for the issue, sort of.

In a blog post, HP admitted that they should have done a better job of communicating it and that they would release an optional update within two weeks that will lift the third party cartridge restrictions. “We are committed to transparency in all of our communications and when we fall short, we call ourselves out,” the blog post reads. The company went on defending the move, saying that it was an action taken to protect users from counterfeit products.

I personally don’t buy either part of that and think that it’s more about protecting their high pricing and profit margin on ink cartridges than anything else and they didn’t really call themselves out either, everyone else did and they were forced to make a statement. The soon-to-be-expected update is also classified as optional, so it most likely won’t be pushed to customers like other updates will and as such, the not-so-tech-savvy customers might not learn of the update at all and be able to download and update it in their printers and all-in-one devices.

The EFF also came down hard on the company for the move, stating that “customers should be able to buy an HP printer without fear that the company will later place artificial limits on the printer’s use. It would be a security nightmare for customers to avoid installing security updates for fear of unwanted and unannounced feature changes.”

We’ve just again seen a huge DDoS campaign which used IoT devices with weak security settings as source and a lot of modern printers are equipped with network function to make the user’s life easier and more accessible – so keeping those headless and networked units up-to-date with the latest security patches is vital.

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