Kodak's New Battle Plan: Cheap Printer Ink

from the ah,-finally! dept

For many years we've had stories about the ridiculously high price of inkjet printer ink. It is, according to some, one of the most expensive liquids around, costing more than vintage champagne. Someone once worked out that if you filled an Olympic-sized swimming pool with printer ink bought at retail, it would cost you $5.9 billion dollars (yes, with a b). Obviously, that's not the cost of manufacturing the ink, but includes hefty margins for the printer makers, who give away their printers cheap and make it up on the ink margins. The printer makers then go to extraordinary lengths, including using all sorts of intellectual property law to stop anyone else from selling ink for their printers. Some printer companies have also been accused of making ink cartridges expire while they still have plenty of ink. In fact, just a few months ago in a report about how Epson was blocking others from selling compatible ink, we wondered why no printer company saw this as an opportunity to come in and undercut these raw deals, and advertise heavily on the fact that they wouldn't rip you off on ink. Apparently, it was just a matter of time.

Kodak is supposedly announcing new photo printers today, with the explicit focus on the fact that their ink is a hell of a lot cheaper than anyone else's. In fact, they're also promoting that the ink cartridges hold a lot more ink, so you won't have to refill as often either. In other words, they're doing what any competitor in the space should do: beating the competition by offering what customers want, rather than trying to squeeze extra money out of them at the expense of reputation. The reports suggest that Kodak will still make plenty of margin on the ink sales, but that it might finally force some of the other printer companies to lower their prices a bit. Sometimes it takes a while, but it looks like the market is finally doing what it's supposed to.

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  1. identicon
    Reality, 19 Feb 2007 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Laudanum Milkshake - gov'ts fault- yea right!!

    Laudanum Milkshake obviously does not have a job in corp America. Must be a student artist or a union employee...

    Don't get me wrong, I am really looking forward to the "cheap ink."

    The market driven economy that demands the ink creates a market for printer companies to chase, with the attractivness of big margins on ink, the printer companies a) get rich (welcome to america) and b) invest in new and exciting products.

    Our ink will be less expensive now, that is great for the consumer. I myself am looking forward to this. the mfr's will still be looking for the same margins on their product. the result is one of the follwoing two (or both):
    - The price of printers will go up.
    - The innovation of new printers with new features will not happen at the same pace.

    very similar to the drug companies, the only real profit they make is in the US, the rest of the world is free to buy generics and their are caps on the costs for drugs. The money is all made in the patent protected US where the money for research and phat paychecks for execs comes from. It is Very fair. If you don't like it, make your own printer.

    Milkshake, pass the pipe and enjoy life in your bubble...

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