HP Defends Its Crackdown On Third-Party Ink Cartridges, Claims Malware Risk

Low Boon Shen
3 Min Read
HP Defends Its Crackdown On Third-Party Ink Cartridges, Claims Malware Risk

HP Defends Its Crackdown On Third-Party Ink Cartridges, Claims Malware Risk

HP Defends Its Crackdown On Third-Party Ink Cartridges, Claims Malware Risk

HP Defends Its Crackdown On Third-Party Ink Cartridges, Claims Malware Risk

Printer companies have gotten a fair bit of notoriety for their increasingly walled-garden nature of accessories, often requiring only the first-party ink cartridges to work and prohibiting any third-party ones from doing so. HP is particularly notorious for this behavior, which had previously landed itself in various lawsuits (it also tried to convince people would hate them less.)

HP’s reasoning for its policy, dubbed Dynamic Security, is highly debatable at best. CEO Enrique Lores said in an interview with American news channel CNBC: “We have seen that you can embed viruses in the cartridges. Through the cartridge, the virus can go to the printer, and then from the printer, go to the network.” The claim originated from company-funded research back in 2022, claiming such attacks are possible due to the usage of a chip on cartridges for communication, which can be modified in the case of third-party offerings.

Whether such a technique is possible or otherwise, it certainly does the job of setting the narrative that HP wants to present to its customers: use our cartridges, or risk security breaches. However, the main driver of this decision is mostly a business decision, as HP Ink is a large part of the company’s printing hardware business. To that, Lores noted: “Our long-term objective is to make printing a subscription. This is really what we have been driving.”

Regarding Dynamic Security, Lores says the company sees it as a way of investment. “This is something we announced a few years ago that our goal was to reduce the number of what we call unprofitable customers. Because every time a customer buys a printer, it’s an investment for us. We’re investing [in] that customer, and if this customer doesn’t print enough or doesn’t use our supplies, it’s a bad investment.”

Effectively, HP wants its customers to buy its ink to make sure the company can keep the cash flowing. Of course, this doesn’t rule out the alleged anti-consumer practice that the printer companies could be artificially limiting the number of pages printed to drive ink sales.

Source: Ars Technica

Pokdepinion: The current business model for printers is honestly kind of terrible from the perspective of a consumer. 

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