Ars has the scoop on a Boston man who is sick and tired of walking into a office supply store and paying $30+ dollars for ink for his printer.
This was discussed years ago on Slashdot before we had sites like Digg and social networking was all the buzz. At the time the discussion was made that at current prices of black ink from manufacturers like HP, ink was priced at roughly $4000 per gallon. The number today looks closer to $8000 per gallon, especially when dealing with colored inks. The complete bullshit of it all is that even though these companies make 90% profit on ink sales, they continue to embed technology into the cartridges and software to tell you a cartridge is empty long before it is actually empty.
In addition to that, HP and others continue to use “destroy at all cost” tactics against 3rd party ink vendors claiming copyright infringement, DCMA infringement and other all-out bullshit to protect their nothing-but-profit industry.
For folks that want to jump on this class-action with both feet, I’d point out that $8000/gallon ink is the reason you can buy a high resolution photo printer/fax/scanner/copier for like $150 and not $450. Once HP has it’s foot in the door at your house by way of one of it’s printers you are more or less agreeing to a subscription-based model. You continue to “subscribe” to their ink, and they will continue to allow you to use their printer. The chips in the printers and print cartridges now don’t allow you to mix-and-match them or use 3rd party sources, which makes this relationship much more subscription-like than you may realize. It does help to subsidize the cost of the printers obviously… but is it worth it to you?
Update #1: For what it’s worth it isn’t just HP; all of the printer manufacturers are doing this. I just had my Brother MFC-7840W tell me that my ink had “Expired” and it simply stopped printing. I had to go out and buy another laser ink drum.
There was still ink in the old one.