HP INC has denied reports that it is reinstating its ban on third-party and refilled printer cartridges on its Officejet printers.
A piece in GHacks, later repeated by several other outlets, claimed that a new firmware update to machines had brought back the Digital Rights Management (DRM) that crippled non-HP certified ink cartridges in the first place.
The story, which we originally carried this time last year, saw users completely blocked from using non-HP cartridges on a blanket date when a specific firmware upgrade was released.
HP removed the DRM after a public outcry, but given its history of putting expiry dates on cartridges and even taking third-party manufacturers to court, it's clear that this was far from over - we've been reporting on this issue in one way or another since the early noughties.
But an HP Inc spokesperson told the INQUIRER on Monday: "Last week a media outlet in Europe inaccurately reported that HP issued a new firmware update designed to prevent the use of third-party cartridges. No such firmware update occurred."
"HP continues to use various forms of authentication (including dynamic security) to prevent the use of cartridges with non HP chips. HP will continue to issue firmware updates in order to resolve bugs and improve customer experience."
So from that, we're gleaning that yes, the DRM will block non-HP cartridges, but not prevent their reuse if they are legitimate in the first place.
HP has, in common with many other printer manufacturers, used the high cost of ink as a subsidy for the low cost of printers, and often, if there's a special offer on, it's actually cheaper to replace your printer than your cartridges.
As a rule, third-party cartridges also contain far more ink than official ones, but the printer manufacturers argue that the quality of ink is far better in theirs. Because they would, obviously.
In fact, over the years, reports have suggested that HP printer ink is, drop for drop, has a higher retail value than gold, or even human blood. Whether that's (still) true is a story for another time, but we wouldn't bet against it. µ
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