This Week in Imaging: Samsung Planning to Deploy Fleets of Public Printers Across U.S.? OEMs Versus Non-OEMS Battle Over Consumables

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Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

In the seemingly strange-bedfellows news category this week was news of a Cartridge World-Samsung partnership. Under the partnership, Samsung has developed a mobile-printing app for Cartridge World, the global franchise of retail stores selling remanufactured toner and ink cartridges.

Cartridge World also announced an ambitious plan to deploy thousands of wireless printers in public places with free WiFi access across the United States, such as coffee shops, hospitals, etc., where, using the Samsung mobile-printing app, mobile users will be able to print. Details are minimal at this point, but presumably these will be Samsung laser printers as the Cartridge World press release states: “The next phase of the project will be to work directly with Samsung to place thousands of printers in free Wi-Fi areas across the U.S. and, in the future, the globe.” These printers would apparently be maintained by Cartridge World stores. (But would individual stores be willing to take this on? Our local Cartridge World is a lonely outpost in a forlorn and half-empty strip mall.) Overall, this would be quite a departure for Samsung, which has sought to expand out of low-cost printers into A3 copier/MFPs sold by dealers for the last several years.

The consumables’ war involving OEM toner and ink versus third-party remanufactured, as well as counterfeit, toner and ink also continues to simmer on other fronts. On the one hand, we have the Clover Imaging Group, which offers toner and ink supplies some 30-percent off OEM prices. This week, Clover is now seeking to lure office-equipment dealers 5 to 10 percent rebates off pre-existing consumables’ programs.

Meanwhile, HP and Canon continue to defend their consumables’ revenue stream in courts around the world, while in a blog post Kyocera Document Solutions U.K. reported that Kyocera had seized some €5 million ($5.6 million U.S.) in fake, counterfeit toner cartridges since April of this year. The firm points out that this is a marked increase compared to the previous year, when Kyocera seized more €10 million worth of fake Kyocera toner cartridges for the whole year. And these numbers only refer to counterfeit toner cartridges seized – not cartridges still being sold.

Staples is launching a beta same-day delivery service, called Staples Rush, but the price is hefty at $14.95. But with all of the toner- and ink-level monitoring utilities, as well as managed print services programs out there, including HP’s Instant Ink auto-delivery program geared for small businesses, are there that many small businesses that would either need this or be willing to pay the $14.95? On the other hand, we bet that many small businesses would rather pay the fee for something like $30 to $50 worth of cartons of paper, which are quite heavy for the average worker to cart over to check-out, out to their vehicle, and into their office.

Brother released the results of an interesting survey that found that U.S. businesses print over 10 times per day. Since that is the case, why do the “my ink dries out” innuendos continue to fly about? Even many years ago in “the bad old days,” if you printed 10 jobs per day, the ink in your printer would never “dry out” unless you used it all up. Moreover, our testing showed that all current HP Officejet printers withstood three months of non-use and the more economical “office-grade” HP Officejet printers with individual ink cartridges withstood six months of non-use, even with the power supply unplugged.

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