The semiconductor shortage spares no one and is felt in unexpected sectors. The printer and camera maker Canon has announced that it is having difficulty obtaining electronic components for… its ink cartridges. The case is funny: the missing chips are used to prove to the printer that the cartridge is indeed an official Canon product. A kind of DRM that customers would do well, and that the company now invites to bypass.
Not being able to include these components which officially ” perform functions such as detecting remaining toner levels », Production has not been stopped: Canon cartridges are simply exempt from certification chips. Which leads to this fun brand release that explains how to ignore printer warning messages about where cartridges are coming from. In practice, this involves closing the pop-up windows that regularly disturb Canon customers who have purchased refills from a third party. Let us add that the problem only concerns large office machines and not the smallest dedicated to individuals.
TechDirt notes that printer manufacturers are specialists in pushing buyers to the limit: there is talk of geographically limited ink cartridges at Xerox, a mystery expiration date at HP or even patents to block the competition at Lexmark.
Recently, Canon was sued by unhappy customers that the company is turning off scanners on some printers that are out of ink. This purely software limitation therefore forces customers to purchase cartridges to perform actions that do not require a drop of ink. In addition, this obligation is not mentioned anywhere in the communication around the printer.