HP has issued an apology for the software update that blocked third-party ink cartridges from being used with the company's printers.
To fix the issue, HP will soon release an optional update that will remove the restriction on the usage of third-party ink cartridges, which are usually less expensive than the official cartridges that HP offers to customers.
In a blog post, HP chief operating officer Jon Flaxman clarified that the recent firmware update that caused the problem affected the procedure of authenticating ink cartridges in several HP printers. The update was done to prevent counterfeit ink cartridges that do not come with an original security chip from compromising the user's printing experience, introducing potential security risks and infringing upon HP's intellectual property.
After the update was released though, it was met with severe backlash from owners of HP printers, with calls to reverse the move being backed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
HP customers expressed their anger and frustrations over their third-party ink cartridges suddenly not working on social media and online forums. The EFF claimed that consumers should be able to purchase an HP printer without worrying that artificial limitations will be eventually placed on how the printer would be used.
Users who are vocal against the update that HP implemented suggested that the basis behind the prevention of the usage of third-party ink cartridges was not security, but rather so that the company would be able to protect the significant profit margins that are added on the official ink cartridges for HP printers.
However, Flaxman admitted that HP should have done a better job in communicating to customers regarding the new authentication procedure, especially as the update caused some third-party ink cartridges with cloned security chips to not work with printers, despite previously functioning well.
The firmware update that HP will be rolling out to bring things back to how they previously were will be removing the dynamic security feature that came with the previous update. Customers can expect the optional update to be released within two weeks, with the details to be provided by HP once ready.
EFF's Elliot Harmon said that the group was happy to find out about the optional update that HP is preparing, but there were questions that remain, such as how the company intends to inform owners of the printers regarding the update.
EFF is also looking for a promise from HP to never again limit the features of its products through a future update.
In related news, HP has reached a deal to acquire the printer business of Samsung for an amount no less than $1.05 billion.