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Delayed HP printer firmware locks out third-party cartridges

Hewlett-Packard printers have suddenly started rejecting unofficial ink cartridges due to a software update that has taken effect months later than originally anticipated.

Before September 13th, certain printers in HP’s OfficeJet ranges would function using refillable third-party cartridges, often sold at a lower price than HP’s.

However, it is believed that a ‘ticking timebomb’ left by a manufacturer firmware update from March 2016 means that printers in the OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro and OfficeJet Pro X range will now only communicate with HP-chipped cartridges.

This means that affected printers have been coming up with cartridge-related error messages and failing to print off documents when fitted with unofficial ink.

Complaints

HP hasn’t issued a software update since March, leaving affected users none the wiser until it was too late. It also means that they have been unable to warn others against updating their printers.

The manufacturer has defended the move saying the update was intended “to protect HP's innovations and intellectual property”.

Holland-based printer ink vendor 123inkt says it received more than 1,000 complaints in a single day and admitted that HP’s exclusivity move was not unusual.

One affected user in HP’s support forum wrote that the printer he used every day for work was now unresponsive and had impacted their work.

Lock-out

With printers now a part of the over-expanding ‘Internet of Things’, manufacturers are able to issue updates and conveniently implement features to effectively lock-out third parties.

A statement from HP suggested that some cartridges may still work though.

“These printers will continue to work with refilled or remanufactured cartridges with an original HP security chip. Other cartridges may not function,” it told the BBC.

“In many cases, this functionality was installed in the HP printer and in some cases it has been implemented as part of an update to the printer’s firmware.”

Image: Christiaan Colen/Flickr

Written by Steve Wilkin for Comms ExpressADNFCR-1186-ID-801825862-ADNFCR

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