from the oh-how-the-mighty-have-fallen dept.
The once mighty Xerox corporation, inventor of the photocopier, the graphical user interface, ethernet and the workstation is no more. Today it has been announced that Xerox is to be acquired by Fujifilm, with whom it had the joint venture FujiXerox, for $6.1 bilion.
In recent years, much of Xerox's previous, and quite recent, acquisitions have been sold off including Tektronix in Willsonville, Oregon (acquired for its solid ink technology) and Affiliated Computer Services.
Back in 2011, Xerox entered into a partnership with Indian outsourcing firm HCL, transferring thousands of engineering staff, including most in the UK and mainland Europe.
It turns out that HP requires its customers to enroll HP Instant Ink eligible printers into one of the Instant Ink plans, and continue paying a monthly subscription in order to be allowed to use the device.
But where's the need to come up with different plans coming from, you may wonder? HP explains: the company charges a fee based on the number of pages a customer prints each month, and the page count is shockingly monitored remotely.
Naturally, the scheme is not advertised as a rather unusual application of DRM, but a way for customers to save time and money. Still, it would seem HP has not exactly gone out of its way to explain all the consequences to those customers.
HP's terms of service also say that these eligible, internet-connected printers can be remotely modified in several ways, including by applying patches, updates, and "changes" – without notifying customers.
Another thing HP can see thanks to the Instant Ink program is the type of documents you print, identifying them by extension as Word, etc., documents, PDFs, or JPEG and other types of images.
Additionally, the HP cartridges have been locked to specific printers for quite a while now.
Earlier on SN:
US Customers Kick Up Class-Action Stink Over Epson's Kyboshing of Third-Party Ink (2019)
Xerox Is No More (2018)
Meg Whitman Resigns (2017)
Supreme Court Lets Consumers Refill Ink Cartridges (2017)
HP to Issue "Optional Firmware Update" Allowing 3rd-Party Ink (2016)