Canon is forced to sell non-DRM ink cartridges due to lack of chips

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The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for electronics manufacturers to source chips, forcing Canon in Europe to start shipping cartridges without chips.

Since many of the company’s printers use DRM, it means customers will receive error messages explaining that the ink they are installing cannot be recognized.

“Although the global shortage of semiconductor components continues to affect many industries, it is our priority to limit possible disruptions for our customers,” the company told the Engadget website.

“We currently have a shortage of the chip that is built into the toner cartridge to monitor the remaining toner level.

“That’s why we’re now shipping toner cartridges for some of our devices without this chip to ensure that we can continue to provide our customers with a continuous supply of consumables.”

Canon even had to tell customers how to bypass the error message, which is practically showing those consumers how to use cheaper unbranded inks in the future.

Despite the workaround, print quality is not compromised if you are not using Canon’s ink – which is often seen as one of the main reasons for using branded inks instead of third-party inks.

One of the drawbacks, however, is that toner levels are not accurate and simply go from 100 percent to 0 percent when empty, making customers more likely to run out of ink unexpectedly.

In 2016, another printer manufacturer, HP, released an update that prevented customers from using non-branded inks and prevented anyone who had the ink installed from working.

It eventually apologized for improperly communicating with customers and issued an optional update to remove the feature that was deemed necessary for security reasons.

HP refused to confirm if there were similar issues to Canon as some reports indicated that their customers were also facing the issue.

It told The Register website that it “uses genuine HP chips in its ink and toner cartridges to ensure the best possible customer experience while protecting against counterfeiting of its consumables.”

“The company uses a globally diverse supply chain in order to remain agile and adaptable in the face of changing industry dynamics,” it says.

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