Liquid Gold: The Ink Rush

from the everyone-wants-in dept

It's no secret that printer ink goes for very high prices these days. We've noted in the past a comparison between the price of ink and vintage champagne (with the ink being more expensive). The SF Chronicle is taking a look at the same issue and noting that an Olympic sized swimming pool filled with printer ink would cost $5.9 billion (yes, with a "b"). Thus, it's no wonder that lots of companies are looking for ways to crack into the ink business, from selling cheaper ink cartridges to refilling old ones. It seems there are even Kinkos' style stores opening up that will refill your ink cartridges for you in a bright neon coated environment. It appears that, for many, printer ink appears to be liquid gold and lots of people are trying to get their share.
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  1. identicon
    Doug Coulter, 27 Jul 2004 @ 7:35pm

    Re: It's all a matter of scale -- not

    I bought a Minolta Magicolor 2200 color laser printer a while back, for several grand. We'll ignore for now that less than a year later they were selling remanufs of this for under 1k$ -- or about the price of the 4 toner cartridges -- think they are cheap? It has all the same problems as the expensive ink for inkjets, only more so -- many other parts seem to be flagged as bad long before they actually are, and the printer won't work till they are replaced. Parts of it that have no electronics in them have a little fuse encased entirely in plastic that are used as one bit ROMs. These fuses are blown by the printer to make you buy a new piece of plastic (the old of which is still perfect) for hundreds of bucks. Being an EE, this hasn't fazed me much so far, but now I can't see the message LCD as it constantly complains the drum life is low, despite otherwise perfect printing. I swore I'd never buy another HP printer again, due to similar issues. Does ANYONE make a printer FOR ANY PRICE that doesn't have this baggage attached?
    I know the manufacturers pretend to justify this as protecting their reputation for good print quality, but that's bogus. Who knows what brand of printer I used for something unless I tell them. I'll certainly not brag on this or any other brand of printer that locks me into replacing non-failed parts at prices that make cocaine look cheap by comparison. We're not talking CA $40 for an ink cartridge here, but hundreds for plastic parts that cost nada to make.

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