HP explains why printer ink is so expensive – that’s the headline of several posts and articles around the net right now. HP seems to have launched a PR campaign for original ink cartridges, and the press is cooperating nicely.
Personally, I wouldn’t touch an HP product with a 10 foot stick, but many people succumb to the cheap prices. Still, when you buy a cheap ink-jet printer, the printer’s cost itself is misleading. Why? Because as we all know, pretty soon you’d have spent much more on ink cartridges. There are some ridiculous cases in which it’s actually cheaper to buy a new printer!
Trying to justify the unreasonable prices of ink cartridges, HP released this campaign that blabs about the cost of research, quality of ink and reliability. They have even tested a focus group made out of 17 (!!!) people, and most of them said they are not happy with replacement ink.
When talking about regular, cheap, home-use printers, the claims about ink quality are pointless. It doesn’t make any sense to pay $25 for an ink cartridge, just to print some recipes and simple documents. Professional and business users might be a different story, but small businesses also need to mind their expenses, and ink prices are simply too high.
(This graph has been around the net for a while. It’s probably not 100% accurate, but it goes to show a point)
The fact remains that replacement or recycled ink cartridges cost about half as much as original ink cartridges. HP and other companies also won’t disclose the actual amount of printer ink that we get in each cartridge. Why is that, do you think? HP says: “Each system has a different way it uses ink or the drop size is different. If you looked strictly at volume you wouldn’t see those differences and it would be confusing to the customers.” Sure. The customers are stupid, so let’s not confuse them with DATA.
Have you ever opened an “empty” ink cartridge? It’s amazing to see that even when the printer reports that the cartridge is empty, it still has many milliliters of ink left inside, yet all that ink is unusable. All that money spent on research, and HP and the other companies can’t produce better ink delivery systems?
Plus, all the bullshit about cost-per-page is calculated in weird ways, that no one but the companies themselves understands.
The prices of printers and other electronic products are constantly dropping, so the companies need to make a buck in other ways. And they do make that buck: HP spends $1 billion a year on ink research and development, while the total revenue for the printing division alone was $24 billion last year. It’s not about quality, research or technology. It’s about greed.