On Tuesday two weeks ago, in homes and offices all over the world, something very strange started to happen. Without any warning, tens of thousands of printers suddenly stopped working.
Bewildering error messages appeared that stated that there was a ‘cartridge problem’, or an ‘older generation cartridge’ was present, or more puzzling still, that ‘one or more cartridges are missing or damaged’.
Users were perplexed, and more than a little frustrated. The cartridges in their printers were neither missing, nor damaged, nor indeed old (although they were, of course, expensive), and yet still the troublesome error messages popped up.
So what had happened? Within a few hours, it quickly became clear that the source of the mystery lay in the fact that all the printers were manufactured by the same company — Hewlett-Packard, or HP. More specifically, the models in question all came from the OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro and OfficeJet Pro X ranges, which cost anywhere between £70 and several hundred pounds.
Unbeknown to the thousands of unsuspecting users around the world, HP had secretly installed the technological equivalent of a time-bomb in their printers, which effectively rendered them useless if their owners had installed cartridges which were not made by HP.
H/t reader kevin a.
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