HP CEO Willing to Break Customer Printers Over 3rd-Party Supplies

HP CEO Willing to Break Customer Printers Over 3rd-Party Supplies

HP CEO Willing to Break Customer Printers Over 3rd-Party Supplies

HP CEO Willing to Break Customer Printers Over 3rd-Party SuppliesHP CEO Enrique Lores (pictured) appeared on the popular CNBC Squawk Box business new program on January 18, 2024, to answer questions about the raft of lawsuits hitting HP over its firmware updates.

Watch the YouTube interview here.

Host Becky Quick told Lores that “people have gotten angry at the idea. They say they were unaware that updating software on their HP printers would disable some printers if they weren’t using HP-branded ink.”

In response, Lores said it’s important for HP to protect its IP. “We have built a lot of IP into the inks, print heads, and printers themselves,” he explained.

“When we identify cartridges that are violating our IP,” Lores added, “we stop the printer from working.”

Lores joined HP as an engineering intern in 1989 and went on to head up HP’s imaging, printing and solutions business and then became CEO in November 2019, after Dion Weisler stepped down due to “a family health matter.”

When asked on Squawk Box if he was willing to “break the printers” of his customers, Lores replied, “In many cases, it can be so.”

Lores said HP will stop the printers from working through the firmware upgrades “because the [third-party] inks have not been designed to be used in our printers” and “even create security issues …  from embedded viruses in the cartridges.”  He explained that such viruses can go from “the cartridge, go to the printer, from the printer, go to the network.”

Subscription Model

When asked if HP objected to having HP cartridges remanufactured by third parties, Lores side-tracked the question.

“Our long-term objective is to make printing a subscription,” he replied. He explained that moving directly to end users with a subscription-based business model “reduces the barriers to print, offers a much more convenient solution for customers, and especially it is more sustainable.”

Of course, it means that distributors and retailers will be cut out of the business model if HP continues down the road of this subscription model.

Lores also admitted HP loses money on each printer it sells, “We lose money on the hardware. We make money on the supplies.”

“We announced a few years ago that our goal was to reduce the number of what we call “unprofitable” customers,” he said, “because every time a customer buys a printer, it’s an investment for us. We are investing in the customer. And if this customer doesn’t print enough or doesn’t use our supplies. It’s about investment.”

HP Recycles its Cartridges

In his Squawk Box interview, Lores said HP is responsibly collecting and “reusing” its empty cartridges.

“Every time a customer uses a cartridge, we take it back, we recycle it, and we use it again,” he told the Squawk Box hosts.

It should be noted, HP’s Chief Sustainability Officer James McCall, back in 2022, declared, “We process nearly 100,000 cartridges a day.” McCall was referring to the “crushing and recycling” of the printer cartridges, not the “reuse” of the cartridges.

HP’s policy is to remove empty cartridges from the marketplace so third-party remanufacturers cannot “reuse” them. They are crushed and recycled to manufacture new products, including printer cartridges. Most HP ink cartridges, for example, are made with at least 50% recycled plastic from used cartridges and other sources.


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