Gartner: Printer ink costs more than perfume

Gartner: Printer ink costs more than perfume

Summary: Printer owners are having to pay some £1,200 per litre for ink, but manufacturers claim the price just reflects their investment in R&D

TOPICS: Hardware

Printer ink costs more per drop than expensive perfume or alcohol, a Gartner analyst said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a business computing conference in London, Stephen Prentice, general vice-president of hardware research for Gartner, estimated that printer owners are spending around £1,200 per litre on ink.

"A new printer costs £110," said Prentice. "The cost of an ink cartridge is £70. I worked it out and a litre of colour ink would cost £1,200. That's more than Chanel No.5 or a good bottle of whisky would cost."

Prentice was discussing how companies can use their products to generate value through business services. He said that the value of the iPods to Apple was not just in the product itself, but in the iTunes service that users would pay for. He then highlighted printer cartridges for similar reasons. "Printers are sold well below cost price, but the companies get their money through the sale of cartridges."

In 2002, three Minnesota residents challenged print ink manufacturer HP in court over the sale of half-full 'economy' ink cartridges.

On Tuesday HP hit back at Prentice's comments.

In a prepared email statement, Jamie Gryce, HP's sales director for UK and Ireland, said: "The premium pricing for HP cartridges and inks reflects the investment in R&D [research and design] and manufacturing processes necessary to achieve this level of quality and innovation. HP invests up to three to four years developing and manufacturing just one new line of ink. HP would encourage customers to consider more than just purchase price when it comes to value for money."

Prentice's keynote speech also covered the 'virtualisation' of storage and security technology. He said that businesses needed to make their infrastructure more flexible, and that virtual, consolidated technology could allow them to make changes at lower costs.

"You can't have fixed structures any more," he said. "The demand for storage is going to grow because you need increasing control over what and how something is being stored. You need a flexible infrastructure."

Topic: Hardware

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  • This talk of ink prices reflecting r&d costs is rubbish . Whatever the r&d is supposed to have achieved , many consumers would happily go without it , and have the option of printing on the technology that was around 10 years ago , at those prices. I dont want 98% of the fancy nonsense that fills up a one gigabite driver for my current printer that cost less than one set set of its refills. I would be perfectly happy with the printing of the old machine I had, and should have gotten it serviced rather than replaced when it developed a small glitch after a long period of good service. What proportion of the r&d went to the development of the microchips and other gimmicks that prevent you from using cheap alternative inks ? Did consumers ask for this ? It seems apparent to me that printer manufacturers have a monopoly over the market , with seemingly no competition , and are effectively engaging in price fixing that doesnot reflect production costs. This would be counter to fair trade laws in most western countries, and some possible explanations are - that authorities dont care to do their job, or that significant players in those departments are getting their palms greased. Did you know about the latest model car by RIPOFF MOTORS INK. ? Has all mod cons goes like a rocket ( you do need a rocket to get you to the corner shop ) , is exuberantly luxurious and comes with umpteen give aways worth more than what you pay for it - the mere cost of a trolley full of groceries. It just needs a special oil to run - that will cost you $ 500 everytime you fill the tank up.
  • I have just come back from tesco. A new genuine lexmark colour cartridge for my existing X73 is
  • Easy solution: Get a bottle of bog standard pen ink, mix it with roughly five per cent hydrogen peroxide solution of the kind you can rinse your mouth with, and spray it into the sponge of the cartridge (Canon IP90, for instance, lets you do this without difficulty). If you get the mix exactly right, you won't be able to tell the difference.