The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) definitely has a lot of pull in the tech industry. Within 24 hours, the EFF’south public call-out of HP’s decision to brick third-political party ink cartridges in customers’ printers has generated a sincere apology.
HP Inc. Chief Operating Officer Jon Flaxman issued the apology in a blog posting, but not before explaining the company’s reasoning for bringing the ban hammer down on the ink cartridges in the commencement place. “We updated a cartridge hallmark procedure in select models of HP role inkjet printers to ensure the best consumer experience and protect them from apocryphal and tertiary-party ink cartridges that do not incorporate an original HP security flake and that infringe on our IP,” said Flaxman.
“When ink cartridges are cloned or counterfeited, the customer is exposed to quality and potential security risks, compromising the printing feel.”
It’south not articulate what security risks an ink cartridge could maybe pose, but that’s HP’s story and information technology’s sticking to information technology. But afterward that little disclaimer, Flaxman got to the heart of the matter — making things right with customers:
We should have done a better job of communicating well-nigh the authentication procedure to customers, and we apologize. Although only a small number of customers have been affected, one customer who has a poor experience is one as well many.
Flaxman does note that while third-party ink cartridges with cloned fries were sidelined by the firmware update, those that utilise reprogrammed, genuine HP chips weren’t affected (and won’t be hindered by future firmware updates). In addition, HP will provide a new, optional firmware update for its OfficeJet printers that volition remove the ink cartridge bricking “feature” inside the next few weeks.
However, don’t get too excited; this appears to be a one-time “go out of jail gratis bill of fare” from HP. It still plans to use what it calls a “dynamic security feature” in the hereafter to “protect the quality of our customer experience, maintain the integrity of our press systems, and protect our IP including authentication methods that may prevent some third-political party supplies from working.”
In other words, HP only appears to be capitulating now because it never informed customers that it would wreck the functionality of their printers with a firmware update. However, now that its true intentions accept been fully disclosed, HP feels similar it has firmer ground to stand on by blocking third-party ink cartridges on its printers from this point forward.
Flaxman ends his blog post, stating, “We commit to improving our communication then that customers understand our concerns about cloned and apocryphal supplies. Once more, to our loyal customers who were affected, we apologize.”
While the EFF is probable happy to hear that HP has apologized for its deportment, the visitor’southward remedy doesn’t get far enough for the non-profit consumer advocacy group. In fact, the EFF implored HP to “publicly commit that you will never again use your software update process to distribute anti-features that piece of work against your customers’ interests.”
Given Flaxman’southward comments on the matter, that probably won’t happen anytime before long.