HP CEO says customers who don't use the company's supplies are "bad investments"


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Facepalm: HP, an organization with a PR record so bad it would make Amazon blush, is endearing itself to the public once again. In an interview where he discusses the firm's controversial ink subscription model and the policy of forcing people to use its own cartridges, CEO Enrique Lores said that customers who don't use HP's own supplies are a "bad investment" for the company.

HP is very insistent that users of its printers don't turn to cheaper third-party alternatives for their ink cartridges. It introduced a feature called Dynamic Security in 2016 that is supposedly a way of protecting the company's intellectual property and the quality of the customer experience by preventing the use of ink or toner cartridges that do not contain new or reused HP chips or electronic circuitry. It was initially removed following customer outcry but reappeared in 2017.

HP is facing a class-action lawsuit in the US that claims a firmware update disabled a customer's printer if it used non-HP replacement cartridges. The firmware, which arrived sometime between late 2022 and early 2023, is said to have coincidentally coincided with the time that HP raised the prices of its ink cartridges.

When asked about the lawsuit during an interview with CNBC, Lores said, "I think for us it is important for us to protect our IP. There is a lot of IP that we've built in the inks of the printers, in the printers themselves. And what we are doing is when we identify cartridges that are violating our IP, we stop the printers from working."

Lores certainly makes no attempt to conceal anything in that statement. The CEO then doubled down on his stance: "Every time a customer buys a printer, it's an investment for us. We are investing in that customer, and if that customer doesn't print enough or doesn't use our supplies, it's a bad investment."

So remember, HP doesn't want you to be a bad investment by purchasing third-party cartridges for your HP printer.

Lores continued to warn against the dangers of using non-HP cartridges and what will happen if you do. "In many cases, it can create all sorts of issues from the printer stopping working because the ink has not been designed to be used in our printer, to even creating security issues."

The CEO made it sound as if HP's ink cartridge DRM was there solely for the benefit of customers. "We have seen that you can embed viruses into cartridges, through the cartridge go to the printer, from the printer go to the network, so it can create many more problems for customers." He then appeared to shift from that customer-first perspective by stating, "Our objective is to make printing as easy as possible, and our long-term objective is to make printing a subscription."

In 2018, HP had to compensate users in Australia over its ink cartridge DRM. The company also agreed to a $1.35 million settlement over the practice in Europe a couple of years ago.

Lores isn't the first HP exec to extol the virtues of the company's ink subscription model. Chief financial officer Marie Myers boasted about the firm "locking" people into its products in December.

"We absolutely see when you move a customer from that pure transactional model [...] whether it's Instant Ink, plus adding on that paper, we sort of see a 20% uplift on the value of that customer because you're locking that person, committing to a longer-term relationship," Myers said.

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From what I know, HP printers are rubbish. Epsons are much less of a headache.
I cannot believe I'm defending HP but the only printer that stopped printing because of the number of pages printed was Cannon.
And I thrashed that Cannon and got an all-in-1 HP that works.
Not flawlessly because scan-2-cloud is finicky sometimes.
So, HP come again how I am a bad investment for you if I don't print enough pages?
Maybe it's time to ditch HP and their subscription.

Because cheap printers are loss leaders. At some times it’s been so bad that the cheapest printers have cost less than a single refill of first party inks, essentially creating an incentive to purchase a new printer every time you run out of ink.

It’s like a PlayStation being cheap because they expect to also sell you games, only… much, much worse.
So, HP come again how I am a bad investment for you if I don't print enough pages?
Maybe it's time to ditch HP and their subscription.
Why isn’t anyone answering this question? It’s so obvious, and everyone loves to thrash the company with this. Maybe it’s because HP sells their printers at a loss??

Here is an example that’s $40: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-des...ncluded-from-hp-white/6519928.p?skuId=6519928

This isn’t a new concept people. It’s the same reason gaming consoles are more affordable than gaming PC’s. What a company should do is have significantly discounted prices of ink cartridges after X pages or X cartridges a printer goes through.
I'm calling BS on this guy's argument that its about IP.

I worked in the industry many years ago, and HP would literally give away Wide-Format Ink Jet plotters, you know, the expensive ones that were 48" or 60" wide - to "qualified" customers. Why? because their cash cow is supplies - INK!

HP just wants everyone to buy their INK - so much so, they are willing to deliberately trash their printers if they detect "illegal" INK.

As a home user, I won't buy an HP, nor will I even buy an Ink Jet. Laser all the way for me, and not HP laser printers.

Before I buy a printer, I research the cost of replacement toner cartridges. If the cost of the toner cartridges is more expensive than the printer, I won't buy the printer.

Printers are commodities these days. Even laser printers are a dime a dozen these days.
Maybe if you didn't put chips on the cartridges to begin with, there wouldn't be any possible security issues. Talk about crying over a problem you created yourself.

Btw, my dad needed a new desktop last year and wanted an HP because he's an old accountant set in his ways. I talked him out of it. NO F*ING WAY am I going to let you get another penny of our money.
Does anyone else recall that Canon were in court over this very same issue several years ago. They had to pay once it got to court. I suppose the printer companys will eventually get around to buying enough judges they can go back to their old "ripoff the customer" strategy.
I've been in the copier/printer industry for over 43 years. On the tech/repair side.
It's all a bunch of BS. They charge you x for black ink/toner, but 2-3 times the amount for
yellow, magenta, cyan. Granted, some of the higher end units have a light black/cyan, magenta, yellow,
but for the most part, they are nothing but Y,M,C,K.
MANY times in the field, far from the office, you need a cyan developer (the carrier/toner mix that transports
the toner to the page), and you don't have it, but you do have another color. So you use the color you have,
run enough copies to work out the toner that is mixed with the carrier. IT'S THE SAME! They charge a higher
price for the color than the black because they can!
Also, if the toner was different, the DRUMS would be different. In troubleshooting a copy quality issue, it's common to swap a drum unit to see if the problem moves with the drum.
They've been getting away with this since color printers/copiers came along but the lobbyist in DC probably
send enough money to the politicians to keep up their little money making scheme.
It's the Epson EcoTank L6190. Bought it primarily because it can also do full page color printing (no white margins).

I love my EcoTank. I’ve got the 2760 and my father has a 2750 that is basically identical. I’ve printed thousands of pages on the ink that came with it and the refill package that comes with ALL colors was relatively cheap ($50 at Costco last I checked).

I’ll never buy an HP due to their BS.
Question everything they claim. They claim they sell printers at a loss or on razor thin margins. Where's the teardown and bill of materials? I highly doubt retail stores would carry these large footprint items and sell them at a loss.

HP would be taking the loss, not the retail chains. The only way a retail chain would take a loss on a HP printer is if they sold it for less than what they paid for it from HP.

Same way with how most consoles sell. They sell at a loss to the manufacturer (not retail store) and then the manufacturer makes it up on the backend with licensing fees and so on for games that are produced and distributed on said consoles. HP is looking to do the same thing with their printers, but with their ink cartridges instead of games.
I'm using a HP ink tank 415, it shipped with a lot of ink and the ink is also cheap. When shopping for printers with cartriges/tonner I try to buy ones that do not have drm. I bought some time ago a brother laser printer for my parents, it worked well with alternative tonner cartrige.
I don't know why people are complaining. There's a very easy solution to this HP problem. Don't buy anything made by HP. Problem solved.
I complain because, inevitably, friends, family members, and clients will buy one of these POS, and I'll get the call when it stops working.

For years now, my answer to anyone who asks is "Go buy a brother laserjet printer, and then I will address your problem" but people these days are much more tight fisted with cash.