EPSON SMEARS 3RD PARTY INK & SALES SUFFER
EPSON SMEARS 3RD PARTY INK & SALES SUFFER
2007-05-08 at 12:26:00 pm #17960
Epson smears third party ink as sales suffer
May 2007″Tests show Calidad inks not suitable for printing photographs” screamed the headline from an Epson press release. With third party ink suppliers estimated to be grabbing as much as 30% of after market ink cartridge sales, printer manufacturers like Epson are waging a PR war against cut price competitors. Some may argue, however, that it is also a war against consumers’ hip pockets.The fact is, as most consumers of inkjet printers probably know, printing manufacturers like Epson, Lexmark, HP, Canon and others have long ceased making quality inkjet printers. Most inkjets now sold are more or less disposable products retailing at ridiculously low prices. Similar things are happening in the emerging color laser printer space.
While PCs are often discarded when they can’t run the newest software, printers are often ditched for new models when it becomes hard to find an ink refill at a reasonable price.The market some time ago reached the ludicrous situation where printing manufacturers are in fact simply ink suppliers, which is where they make their profits.The main problem for the printing manufacturers, however, is that there is a healthy and growing market for third party ink suppliers which usually sell replacement ink cartridges significantly below the prices of OEM cartridges. This not only has the effect of eating into the after market ink sales of printing manufacturers; it also lengthens the printer replacement cycle as consumers will tend to keep printers longer if they can source reasonably priced ink refills.Faced with a serious challenge to their business models by third party after market ink sales, OEM suppliers are becoming ever more aggressive in their anti third party rhetoric.In what appears to be a thinly veiled attempt to sling mud at third party ink suppliers, Epson warned against the use of third party inks in its printers with the release of “independent test results” which purport to show that one of Australia and New Zealand’s best known third-party ink brands, Calidad, has one of the poorest results for print life ever measured.
The conclusion of tests, according to Henry Wilhelm, President of Wilhelm Imaging Research, which conducted tests for Epson is that displayed prints made with genuine Epson DURABrite pigment inks on Epson paper will last more than 40 times longer than prints made with the Calidad inks on Calidad paper.”The Calidad ink cartridges appear to contain low-stability dye-based substitutes for Epson high-stability DURABrite pigment inks. The Calidad inks have poor resistance to atmospheric ozone that may be present in homes and offices, and the Calidad inks also give up waterfastness when printed on plain paper,” Mr Wilhelm said.”When Epson users see these results they should be in no doubt that using third party inks in their Epson printers will lead to rapid fading and loss of their precious photographs,” Epson’s Marketing Communications Director, Mike Pleasants said.”I am sure that no parents would want to give or receive as a gift a framed photograph of treasured children, friends or relatives, or that special occasion, that can suffer significant fading in less than a year,” Pleasants said.Despite the claims from Epson, however, the third party market has hit back with its own report which refutes any suggestions that third party ink products are inferior to the more expensive OEM products.
A new survey by Lyra Research and published in Recharger Magazine revealed that 48% of respondents who had used non-OEM supplies said that they have never had a problem with a non-printer-brand cartridge. Only 6% have had many problems, defined as more than 10 percent of the time, and 44% have had “just a few problems,” defined as less than 10% of the time. Overall, 93% of color laser printer users and 92% of color inkjet users said they either have had no problems with aftermarket cartridges or have had “just a few” problems, according to the survey.