HP has stepped up its efforts to crack down on printer ink counterfeiters
-- and with good reason. While the company plays up that it's helping consumers by getting shoddy products off the market, it's more about protecting its business. In the past, HP's put pressure on retailers not to carry
cheaper alternatives to its expensive
replacement ink cartridges, and it's tried to use patent suits
to shut down cartridge refillers. But with sales down across the board, HP is moving to try and recoup some of the $1 billion analysts allege it loses to fake ink every year. BusinessWeek says "For years, HP could afford to ignore the problem," because of booming sales. But apparently, it couldn't afford to try and use patent lawsuits, pressure on retailers and other shady tactics to try and crowd lower-priced alternative products out of the market. It's perfectly fine for HP to go after counterfeiters selling inferior products under its name, trying to defraud consumers. But let's hope that's all it's now doing, and it's given up on trying to force legitimate alternative products out of the market.