CRN Exclusive: HP COO Flaxman Reaffirms Commitment To Printer Security

COO Pledges Better Communication After Printing Issue

HP Inc. Chief Operating Officer Jon Flaxman spoke with CRN after the company released a fix for customers impacted by a new cartridge authentication procedure that prevented some cloned cartridges from working with HP printers.

In a blog post, Flaxman apologized to customers affected by the problem, but reaffirmed HP's commitment to use "security features in the future."

Flaxman, a 35-year HP veteran who has been instrumental in beefing up partner sales tools, said in the blog post that HP should have done a "better job of communicating" about the new security feature – even if there were only a "small number" of customers impacted.

"We will continue to use dynamic security and other security features in the future," wrote Flaxman. "However, we will improve our communication so that customers will understand our concerns about cloned and counterfeit supplies and that HP printers may also include authentication methods that may prevent some third party supplies from working."

Talk about the blog post and what the message is to customers?

The key theme is around the customer experience, ensuring the security of our customers. This is about giving customers the comfort that we are giving them the best possible print, security and authentication processes that we possibly can. That is what makes our products unique and great.

What is the issue with clone and third party untested cartridges?

There is an impact on print quality, repair and maintenance and potentially exposing security inside the printer as real issues to customers. Backtracking on that (security feature) may bring you a cheap clone (cartridge), but we have seen time and time again that we are two times print quality with an HP original cartridge than other solutions.

What percentage of customers were affected by this security firmware update?

Very small. It was focused primarily only on a few select PageWide array products, select models of the Officejet Pro and Pro X and then you have to narrow that population to only those that might have been using the untested clones or counterfeits that were impacted. It is relatively speaking a fairly small portion of our business.

How important is security to the future of HP Printing?

It is absolutely something that our channel partners, our customers all expect from us and appreciate from us. We are ensuring security up and down our printing lineup. We are going to continue to be advocates of that for all our products. Then you get into the rest of the customer experience around print quality and authentication.

Are you going to back down on security?

Absolutely not. We are reinforcing the need to maintain those security measures, protect our IP (intellectual property) and to ensure the great customer experience.