back to article Wall Street analyst slashes HP Inc's share rating amid mounting worries over printer supplies declines

A respected Wall Street analyst has downgraded HP Inc's share rating on the back of worries that its PC division won't be able to sustain the growth numbers it has been banking, which paper over the cracks in the print supplies business. The company is currently trying to dig itself out a hole of its own making: it mis- …

  1. JohnFen Silver badge

    You think?

    "We worry that printing may be facing greater structural headwinds from the shift to digital (i.e people printing less)"

    I don't know about most people, but I stopped buying printers over a decade ago, precisely because of the shenanigans that the printer industry adopted regarding the price of ink. The shift to digital had nothing to do with it -- the terrible business model is what drove me away.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: You think?

      Its not just the price of ink. Anyone who owns a HP ink jet printer knows the sheer frustration in dealing with dried up cartridges, the problem of cleaning the unit followed by an endless dance of death with the printer firmware that insists that the cartridges are cloned, refilled or otherwise unsuitable. HP have spent more effort protecting their short term profits than building functional printers so now when its time to replace a printer its "anything but HP".

      HP also have spent time and effort coming up with a ink rental product -- you pay a monthly fee to allow your printer to print so many pages, beyond that there's an extra fee but the ink's 'free'. This is the epitome of a useless product.

      1. John 104

        Re: You think?

        I'm sorry, but anyone who is dumb enough to own an ink jet printer these days....

        Color laser printers are readily available and very inexpensive. I've been using the same HP color laser for about 10 years and it still hums along and prints when I need it to. When I don't need it to, the toner doesn't 'dry up', rendering the printer useless. I think I paid around $250 for it. Yes, it is more than an ink jet up front, but cheaper in the long run. And if B&W is enough, my son just bought one for $109.

        Check out this article. its $AU, but you get the idea. ink jet is over 3 times as expensive to operate vs toner. It's a no brainier.

        People are too short sighted when they buy printers. "Look, this one is only $60!" of course it is cheap. the whole model is based on basically giving away the printer and upcharging on consumables.

        As for HP not making it due to printer supplies. Well, if you didn't charge so much for the product and have so little in the cartridges, maybe you'd do better. Same with toner. I never buy HP branded stuff because it costs 3x as much as the compatible cartridges available from the myriad of suppliers. If they prices were close, say within $5-$10, I'd go with the name brand. But corporations are greedy and stupid when it comes to these things. In this day and age, brand loyalty is gone. If it works and is cheap, that's what people go for. Doesn't take an MBA in business to figure this out...

        1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

          Re: You think?

          As for HP not making it due to printer supplies. Well, if you didn't charge so much for the product and have so little in the cartridges, maybe you'd do better.

          And HP used to, past tense (because they got CAUGHT by the ACCC), do this because of a printer firmware which renders the printer to stop working when a non-OEM/3rd party ink tank was used.

          So I really want to know what HP is going to do now since getting caught. Maybe they can sue the non-HP ink manufacturer?

          Or maybe HP printer BU can check into the Trump Towers and "lobby" for tariffs to be included?

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: You think?

          "Check out this article. its $AU, but you get the idea. ink jet is over 3 times as expensive to operate vs toner. It's a no brainier."

          Depends what you are printing. Id you want decent prints of photos, your cheap colour laser is not going to cut it compared to an inkjet with glossy photo paper. It's down to how much you use it/need it. It may be cheaper to print your photos at the local supermarket self-service print shop if it's just a few, once in a while.

        3. ZenCoder

          Re: You think?

          $100 B&W laser purchased for $50 8 years ago.

        4. LDS Silver badge

          "anyone who is dumb enough to own an ink jet printer these days"

          The reason is one size doesn't fit all. A color laser printer, maybe with duplex, is usually larger and heavier than an inkjet. When I was looking for a small color laser with duplex and Ethernet, there were very few models to choose between, and the smallest one I bought barely stays in the place I needed to put it. The inkjet it replaced (still with duplex and Ethernet), was smaller and lighter. People without much space for a printer may prefer smaller, lighter models, despite the inkjet shortcomings. Some people may also be attracted by the versatility of some inkjets.

          There is, of course, the whole sector of *real* photo printers, with capabilities still unmatched by laser printers. But that's another category, mine is a 10 inks A3+ one (and weights 20kg), and I had to limit myself to this model because the higher 12-inks one was too heavy and too large. Anyway, these models are too expensive for general printing, and to obtain the results they are capable of skills and other tools are required.

      2. Dave 15

        Re: You think?

        My HP printer went for recycling, I put in decent ink cartridges, it printed but said they werent HP then eventually just refused to print any more. Frankly I am NOT being held to ransom by a snot nosed company so their product is in the bin and I will never buy anything with HP on it again, anything, whatever it is

        1. Richard Jones 1
          WTF?

          Re: You think?

          We had a (non HP) printer that came with ink and print head combined, replaced the head and all was well, it is 8 years old. My A3 HP is about 15 or more years old, replace the ink and get new print heads I am still happy with that.

          The loser is Samsung as our 16-year-old laser printer no longer has OEM supplies, so I now refill the old beast with £10 toner good for some very large number of pages. I also have a Lexmark laser printer not very much used these days, of and another Canon over ten years old and still going strong. So I see HP's point, they have made themselves largely irrelevant to the printer business.

  2. Dwarf Silver badge

    Move with the times

    I wonder if this is related to an of the following :

    1. A reduction in the amount that people print because everything is electronic (home, office, even paperless billing for virtually everything)

    2. A PDF weighs less in your laptop or on your VDI than half a ream of paper in your bag

    3. Companies don't like remote printing at home or you taking paperwork out of the office

    4. Once you've printed it, you need to shred it, so more cost and hassle

    5. Printer companies try and rip off people on the cost per page for ink

    6. Colour ? - you want colour - yep, its still 1980 in marketing land, that FAR more per page.because CMY costs far more to make than K

    7. People got fed up of inkjet printers as they always clog up so the cost per page and the inconvenience gets far higher and people say "stuff it"and bin the printer

    8. Presentations are now not done on slices of dead tree, but via a bunch of electronic methods where handing out paper gets kind'a tricky

    9. Nobody is expected to read so much these days, its got to be moving pictures now - watch the video instead of reading the briefing

    10 The space in houses and offices are getting smaller, so there is nowhere to put a mountain of A4 paper that you will definitely read later

    Suggestions for HP and other printer manufacturers

    1. Move with the times, just like stone tablets, dead tree printing is in decline (and more worryingly so are the trees that allow us to breathe).

    2. Charge far less for printing consumables

    3. Consider how you communicate to the outside world - do you still use dead tree within your company ? do you expect us to do it differently in ours ?

    4. Come back in a year or two and let us know how your strategy is panning out.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Move with the times

      There is little need to do much printing by anyone. Paying bills is often electronic, banking - ditto, must documents ditto. Screens are generally quite large so reading is not tedious as it was a few years ago. So what about printing at home or the office? Doing much less.

      Weirdly, less printing at home might mean an uptick in using printing services because you do not have a (working) printer at home.

    2. theblackhand Silver badge

      Re: Move with the times

      I would add education moving to online content rather than printing it at home.

      My kids rarely print things now versus their older cousins who regularly had to print work for school.4-5 years ago.

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: 7. People got fed up of inkjet printers

      Indeed. I got so fed up I splurged for a laser printer. It's a Samsung. I've had it now for about six times as long as any inkjet I've ever had. Toner is so much more practical, and no company has even tried to DRM it.

      On the other hand, color laser is not yet in my budget.

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: 7. People got fed up of inkjet printers

        Toner is so much more practical, and no company has even tried to DRM it.

        No, but several companies have DRMed toner cartridges. My LaserJet Pro whines incessantly about my "non-genuine supplies." It does still print though, albeit grudgingly.

        Sad fact: even if half of the remanufactured cartridges fail out of the box, they're still half the price of "genuine HP" cartridges.

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: 7. People got fed up of inkjet printers

        Samsung’s printer division is owned by HP.

        https://www.samsung.com/uk/support/computing/where-can-i-find-drivers-software-and-support-for-my-samsung-printer/

  3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Pint

    Sadly printing less

    is not an optional for us poor idiots dealing with aerospace stuff.

    In fact, it involves printing more CoC , material certs, approved status certs, and thats even before 1 bit of metal is cut.

    Then its certs for the machine setter, details for the operators, inspection certs, final inspection certs, 100% part inspection reports, everything has to detail everyone whos had a hand in creating the M5 stainless screw costing £3.28 each where as a bucket of 1000 costs a fiver from screwfix.....

    Which brings me onto our trusty modern HP deskjet printer... carefully identified on the network and refuses to print from anything other than one PC..

    Wheres the "banging a head against a wall" icon?

    PS my own clapped out 15 yr old hp J6400 deskjet works perfectedly with all my PCs.... even though they running a mix of win 7 and linux flavours......

    Right back to the headbutting a wall ... thud thud thud thud

  4. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

    Sometimes printing IS essential

    Whilst I agree withe whole 'printing less', sometimes it has to be done....

    Original docs (birth and mariage certificates; tax foncier+ residential tax; bank statements and.,) and three copies of each for your Carte de Séjour appllication.

    The bureaucrats are not impressed with phone/tablet being waves at them. Cannot staple to the application..

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Sometimes printing IS essential

      True. When I absolutely must print something, though, I use the printers at the local copy shop to do it. It's more expensive per print, but considering how rare it is that I really need to print something, it's still cheaper than owning my own printer. Takes up less desk space as well.

      1. Richard Jones 1
        Happy

        Re: Sometimes printing IS essential

        @JohnFen if I factor in the cost of time finding a 'print shop' then fighting the traffic to get there, the cost of parking and the time spent on the process, even if the printing was free it would still cost me a fortune. My printers are fully depreciated thank you, the youngest must be about 10 years old, so really it is no contest.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Sometimes printing IS essential

          It sounds like you have a good case for owning your own printer. The same economics don't apply to me, though. I already know where the local copy shop is, and I don't have to fight traffic, find parking, or any of that stuff to get there.

    2. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Sometimes printing IS essential

      Cannot staple to the application

      OMfG. You just dredged up a horrible sight I wanted to forget.

      Picture this: A blonde woman was trying to "get" a picture out of her phone (so she can show someone). So she put the picture up on her phone and put the phone into the photocopying machine. Viola!

      That was a horrible sight to witness.

      I'm booked to see my shrink in two weeks time. Thank you very much.

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Sometimes printing IS essential

      Sometimes, yes. But my Canon laser is now about 4 years old and still has the toner cartridges it came with when I bought it. It mostly gets used for the scanner.

  5. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

    HP better than Epson for me..

    As an additional obs. I have found my HP printers to be generally better for not clogging and easier to un-clog than my Epsons.

    And don't get me started on Epson MFD+Linux, despite 23yrs as a Linux user I still shiver at getting them to play together. HP MFD was a holiday by comparison

  6. Rich 10

    Inkjets and cheap refills are my way - HP has one advantage in that they do continue with driver support for even some of their oldest inkjet and laserjet models regardless of OS and updates. If I could get my spouse off color I would go for a cheap laser - we use HP cubes for our work printers and they print for ever (except for the one that had a 3 pound/1.5 kg drill bit dropped on it when they were installing HVAC equipment on the roof of our building - they had to fix the roof too). Gashed the top of the machine nicely. Still printed but what the heck, the roofing company bought us a new one.

  7. Pete 47

    Refillables FTW

    I went to refillable inkjet cartridges for my Epson a few years back, the slight inconvenience of refilling is completely outweighed by the convenience of printing just working first time every time irrespective of the length of time since the last print job.

    And it's cheap, I bought a multi-pack of black ink for £4 which I calculated at present usage to be about 100 years worth.

    If I printed more often I'd consider a laser, but for now this is more than adequate.

  8. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

    HP laser and 3rd party cartridges

    I used to use HP inkjet, but the level of printing led to cartridges drying up.

    One a set of replacement cartridges was similar cost to an HP colour laser printer I switched.

    No more problems if I don't print for a month or so.

    After months of whingeing that the introductory (i.e. limited capacity) toner cartridges were empty it finally ran out of blue and black.

    The cost of a set of genuine toner cartridges was more than the cost of a new printer. Apart from purely environmental concerns over recycling an almost new printer the whole business model stinks.

    So happily running on a set of 3rd party toner cartridges which were vastly cheaper and seem to be working fine.

    It has taken a long time for this business model to falter, but I can't see it recovering without major pricing changes.

    Why do I still print?

    I was conditioned from an early age to work with printed paper and so if using instructions to assemble something, or reviewing a document, I find that I work far more comfortably, quickly and effectively hand annotating a paper document and flipping backward and forwards through the pages.

    I do use YouTube videos on "how to" though. Some modern(ish) technology trumps paper every time. :-)

  9. Nonymous Crowd Nerd

    Couldn't be happening to a more deserving bunch of cowboys

    For a decade at least, the philosophy at HP's printing division and the whole inkjet printing industry has been to screw the client for every last cent and let the true quality of the product go down the toilet.

    It's tragic. Because back in the thirty years or so, HP had and actually deserved a considerable reputation.

  10. adam payne Silver badge

    ... or - seemingly - that businesses are printing less than they used to.

    People print less because it costs so much.

    I remember a time when:

    Cartridges weren't tiny

    The over the top cleaning routines designed to waste ink didn't exist

    When cartridges didn't have chips on them to stop them working when it thinks it's out of ink

    Dot Matrix printers weren't thought of as retro

    HP and the industry made the hole for themselves now they get to lie in it.

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