Epson Succeeds In Stopping Competitors From Making Compatible Ink Cartridges

from the remind-me-not-to-buy-another-Epson-printer dept

I currently have an Epson printer that's on its last legs. While the printer has served me fine for many years, Epson has just made it abundantly clear why I should never buy another printer from them. Last February, the company went after 24 vendors of Epson-compatible ink cartridges, claiming "patent" violations for putting ink into a cartridge that works on their printers. That's clearly not in the spirit of the patent system at all, but rather a blatant attempt to keep competitors out of the market by misusing patent laws. It's obviously lucrative to Epson to do so, since the artificial scarcity the printer companies have created has inflated the price of ink to ridiculous levels (filling a swimming pool with ink would cost nearly $6 billion -- with a b), making it perhaps the most expensive liquid around. So, it's unfortunate that Epson has apparently succeeded in intimidating many of the compatible ink cartridge makers into leaving the market. Obviously, Epson thinks it's in its own best interests to limit the market so they can charge such high prices (this is the same company that has also been accused of forcing you to replace cartridges even when they still have plenty of ink -- a charge the company denies). However, it also signals to consumers that Epson printers are going to be plenty expensive to maintain and that they may be better off looking elsewhere. Certainly, many of the other printer makers are just as bad, but that should be seen as an opportunity for someone to come along and charge a much more reasonable amount for ink, and then advertise the hell out of how much money they'll save everyone.

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  1. identicon
    Jeff, 30 Nov 2006 @ 1:23am

    Forget ink, paper, printers... use PDFs

    www.cutepdf.com - free for home use

    Sure, occasionally I still need to print things out for one reason or another, but CutePDF is great for times when I just the purpose of my "printing" is just to get a static copy of a web page I know will change, or to do a rough-draft print to see how it looks on paper (because things will look different printed than they do in PrintPreview, but CutePDF is always pretty close to how it would have looked on paper), or to "print" a file and let someone review a "hard copy" without being able to futz with the original file.... using CutePDF lets me do those type of things without NEEDING to print and waste paper or ink or even having a printer connected. and since I've started using it and made it my "default" printer, I've found that I can get by without real printouts more than I thought.

    The final thing I like about CutePDF is that if I always print to CutePDF first, then print out the PDF... I always have an electronic "proof quality" version of what I actually printed and/or gave to someone. So it's self-documentation for me as well.

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