The ridiculous cost of printer ink is at a breaking point.
We all agree, printer cartridges are unnecessarily expensive. Printer ink might be the most expensive liquid you buy. Even the cheapest ink, at about $13 an ounce, costs more than, say, fine Champagne, while the priciest, at about $75 an ounce, is more costly than gold! And the real question is why? I can’t imagine you have to bore through bedrock to mine it or ferment grapes over several years to find the color cyan. But finally, a major printer company has decided to (partially) disavow it’s antiquated and oligarchic control.
Epson is attempting to rewrite printer history with its new line of EcoTank inkjet printers. Instead of using small, pre-filled ink cartridges that have to be frequently (and expensively) replaced, Epson’s new printers use permanent tanks in which generous amounts of ink are poured. When you run out of ink, instead of buying and snapping in new ink cartridges, you just pour in more.
Where was this twenty years ago? Hopefully, this is just the tip of the many-industry iceberg. So many products and industries need subtle, but stellar, changes in order to stay relevant and let the consumer know that they are thinking ahead.
Maybe the stranglehold on printer ink pricing is slowly releasing its monopolistic grip on consumers.
When contemplating possible threats to their business, many executives worry about disruption; they see competitors with new technologies poised to capture their existing customers, and they know it’s better to be a disruptor than a disruptee.
While Epson’s new EcoTank design is a fascinating new approach to the office printer, it is only one small step in the right direction, but it should be viewed as a lesson for any business, any industry: you must always keep adapting.