Categories: PrintersWorkspace

HP Says Sorry For Unofficial Printer Cartridge Block With ‘Optional’ Firmware Update

HP has agreed that it failed to communicate properly after the discovery that HP printers no longer recognised unofficial and cheaper printer ink cartridges after a firmware update.

The company admitted last week that as a result of the update, settings had been changed so HP printers would only communicate with cartridges that contained official HP chips.

Poor Communication

Printer users using third party cartridges received a variety of error messages, including “cartridge problem”, “one or more cartridges are missing or damaged” and “older generation cartridge”.

Systems affected by the firmware update include HP OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro and OfficeJet Pro X.

The move triggered a backlash, with some arguing it was nothing more than a protectionist move by HP to safeguard its printer cartridge revenue stream. And now Jon Flaxman, HP’s Chief Operating Officer has apologised for for the move and said the firm will reverse its stance.

“As a new company, we are committed to transparency in all of our communications and when we fall short, we call ourselves out,” said Flaxman. “We updated a cartridge authentication procedure in select models of HP office inkjet printers to ensure the best consumer experience and protect them from counterfeit and third-party ink cartridges that do not contain an original HP security chip and that infringe on our IP.”

He then defended the move, saying that only original HP ink products deliver the best quality, security and reliability, and warned customers are putting themselves potentially at security risk and are likely to suffer from quality issues when they use ink cartridges that are “cloned or counterfeited.”

“The most recent firmware update included a dynamic security feature that prevented some untested third-party cartridges that use cloned security chips from working, even if they had previously functioned,” Flaxman continued. “We should have done a better job of communicating about the authentication procedure to customers, and we apologise.

He said that only a small number of customers have been affected, and that all third party cartridges with original HP security chips would continue to function properly.HP will issue an optional firmware update that will remove the block on third party cartridges.

“As a remedy for the small number of affected customers, we will issue an optional firmware update that will remove the dynamic security feature,” he said.

Users wanting to install this firmware update when it is released should check here.

Printer Consolidation

The printer market has been shrinking in recent years amidst a general shift toward digital documents, spurred in part by the wide spread of mobile devices.

That said, HP still leads the market, followed by Canon, Epson, Brother and Samsung.

And earlier this month Samsung sold its worldwide printer business to HP for around $1.05 billion (£790 million), giving HP a stronger position as it launches a range of photocopiers.

As part of that deal, HP is to take on 6,000 Samsung staff, its production facilities in China and 50 sales offices worldwide.

Think you know all about HP? Try our quiz!

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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