HP Takes Back Its Decision for Blocking Third-Party Ink Cartridges

A few days ago, we covered the news of HP bailing out on its users for using unauthorized, third-party ink in a surprise move. Now, it is covering up the damages and backing out from its bold choices.

The company has decided not to block third party ink cartridges.

The company will now issue an optional software update – said to be ready within two weeks – which will reverse the damage to its users and allow affected users to resume work.

The move comes after more than 10,000 users responded to Electronic Frontier Foundation’s call for HP to stop implementing ink restrictions on its printers. Here’s a subsequent update posted by HP on its site:

“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.

HP printers and original HP ink products deliver the best quality, security and reliability. When ink cartridges are cloned or counterfeited, the customer is exposed to quality and potential security risks, compromising the printing experience.

As is standard in the printing business, we have a process for authenticating supplies. 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.”

The issue originally affected the printers in HP’s OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro and OfficeJet Pro X lineup, with a bunch of new printers coming with the feature built-in.

It is understandable that HP is not backing from the job of releasing such software updates, which will be welcome to most users if they infringe users’ safety. However, ultimately, the users will have to swallow the bitter pill of DRM restrictions.

Printer ink is known to be a crucial element in the printer business. Known to cost more per-ounce than human blood, it is an important component of the business model for someone like HP, who is too reliant on printers for revenue. It is just realizing that better ways around the issue have to be found, though.

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