HP Deliberately Cripples Printers by Activating Third-Party Ink Cartridge Block

By Gary Cutlack on at

A really quite awful act of self-destructive terrorism against its own users has been carried out by previously benign hardware supplier Hewlett-Packard, which has switched on a dormant feature inside some of its printer ranges and effectively crippled some machines by stopping them using unofficial ink cartridges.

Models deliberately broken by HP include the OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro and OfficeJet Pro X printers, which are practically household names in the world of making things from the internet real and on A4 paper.

Starting last week, users began to see more error messages than usual when using a printer. The messages all concerned the ink cartridges, which were variously reported by the printers as being missing or damaged, of the wrong generation or simply malfunctioning. HP has been forced to address the issue, which seems to stem from a software update issued in March but only activated on September 13th -- a day which shall henceforth be known as Printer Judgement Day.

HP says it's to protect its IP, telling the BBC that: "These printers will continue to work with refilled or remanufactured cartridges with an original HP security chip. Other cartridges may not function." [Guardian]

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