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How Hp’s New HP+ Could Change The Toner Industry Forever.
Global printer market leader HP Inc. has announced that it will extend its instant ink model, which was introduced a few years ago, to include laser toners. With HP + one wants to offer its customers a smart complete solution consisting of hardware, supplies and the HP Smart App, it said in a company announcement. The aim is to make printing easier and safer. HP + starts in the USA at a price threshold of 1.99 dollars per month and is to be rolled out worldwide in fiscal year 2021 (beginning November 1, 2020). Depending on the print volume, consumers pay a monthly fee and then automatically receive HP toner or ink for their device. In the laser printer segment, the US group is launching its new HP + concept with the HP LaserJet M200, HP OfficeJet Pro 800 and 900 printer series. As an additional incentive, the user can look forward to a one-year extension of the warranty and additional security features to protect the print infrastructure from malware. The first dealer to market HP + is the US specialist retail chain Staples.
HP + is a closed system and only works with original HP toner and ink. What looks smart and comfortable from the consumer’s point of view is highly questionable from a competitive point of view: If the new subscription model becomes established across the board – and HP will do a lot for it – then the market will be foreclosed. The right of the consumer to a free choice of supplies would be de facto waste. The tough renegotiation of the so-called voluntary agreement is currently underway behind the scenes, which is precisely about: Consumers not only having the choice on paper but actually choosing whether they prefer their printer with the original supplies from the OEMs or with Want to operate cartridges from alternative providers.
Another big question mark is how the trading partners are integrated into the concept in the long term: after all, HP + creates a direct business relationship between the US group and the end customers. It is to be expected that the US group will offer its partners a commission model for marketing, as with Instant Ink, with HP + – but that doesn’t have much to do with free trading.
Of course, Palo Alto will argue that customers have a free choice and do not have to opt for an HP + contract, but can continue to buy printers and supplies separately. Nevertheless, the already highly concentrated European printer market would then develop even more in the direction of a monopoly and thus inevitably call the competition guardians onto the scene.
And there is one more point that is obviously underestimated in Palo Alto: As part of its Green Deal, the EU is currently working flat out to increase the re-use quotas for all product lines significantly. There is a particularly strong need to catch up with printer supplies, which is why binding re-use quotas for the printer market are currently being discussed behind the scenes. That would hit the core of the HP + strategy, after all, the US company has so far stubbornly refused to support a stronger reprocessing of original HP supplies. Instead, they consistently rely on the purely material recycling of the empty cartridges and thus withdraw them from the remanufacturing market. That is why the re-use quotas for HP cartridges have remained in the basement for years.
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Author2020-11-12 at 12:46:11 pm
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