China Warns HP: Don’t Make Printers Incompatible with Third-Party Toner Cartridges

Deal Street Asia reported that yesterday, the government of the People’s Republic of China has approved HP Inc.’s $1.1 billion purchase of Samsung Electronics’ Printing Solution business (now called S-Printing Solution Company), but cited concerns about an HP-Samsung merger could dominant China’s A4 laser-printer market.

In a statement issued late on Thursday, China’s Ministry of Commerce said that sales of A4 laser printers by HP in China should be done on “fair and reasonable” terms, and that every six months, HP  must report to the ministry on its  prices and related data.

The ministry also said HP cannot buy a stake in other A4 printer manufacturers in China, even if it’s a minority investment.

Last – and probably what will be most troublesome for HP – the ministry said that HP must not adapt its printers to restrict compatibility with third-party supplies, or claim in advertising that its printers are not compatible with third-party suppliers. Currently, HP laser and inkjet printers and MFPs are designed to reject the use third-party cartridges – although it has issued firmware updates after opposition to the blocking of third-party ink cartridges. Overall, HP strongly discourages the use of third-party ink or toner cartridges..

HP iexpects to close the Samsung acquisition in the fourth quarter of 2017.

With the acquisition, HP would add an intellectual property portfolio of more than 6,500 printing patents and nearly 1,300 researchers and engineers with expertise in laser-printer technology, imaging electronics, and printer supplies.

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