HP will now limit firmware updates to Enterprise customers under warranty

HP servers could prove be costly to maintain under the new plans.

In an unprecedented move by the company, HP will only provide firmware updates to Enterprise customers that are under warranty after February 19.

In a press release, Vice President Mary McCoy announced firmware updates through the HP support centre will only be available to customers with a valid warranty, Care Pack Service or support agreement. The move could see customers forking out hundreds or even thousands on Care Pack Services, which provide hardware and software support, as well as services, to receive the latest updates for their devices.

McCoy says while the move is a change from the past, it will place the company in line with the best practices in the industry.             

“We know this is a change from how we’ve done business in the past; however, this aligns with industry best practices and is the right decision for our customers and partners."

The company Vice President says customers are given first priority because they are given a choice to pay for additional upgrades. 

Firmware is the read-only programming that is embedded into hardware. Firmware updates can be used to add functions, fix bugs, enhance security or simply improve performance of the device. Network devices such as routers and servers often receive firmware updates to ensure users are gaining optimal performance.

Existing customers are advised to update their laptops, servers, tablets and other HP devices by the February 19.

Source: HP | Image via Tom's Hardware

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Hello,

Neowin's members reading level is very low.

It is stated not only in the article but by a few members that this does NOT AFFECT CONSUMER PRODUCTS. Only small business and above.

The ProLiant servers are intended for small businesses not for consumers.

WOW...even more bad news for Windows.

HP always makes good computers. In the past, I have bought several. Two of the laptop that I have bought for my business ran on AMD processors and they lasted for 5 years, which is ok because I bought them cheap. The other one, Intel processors, are still running since 2004, where one is a Pentium 4. To this day, this still run strongly.

This move by HP does not effect me or my business so much, since I have been able to transition my operations to the cloud. Because I have had very good success with HP products, when my computers finally go "Kaput", I may give the the HP Chromebooks a shot. After all, I wouldn't have to worry about MS licenses anymore, nor would I care about HP firmware updates, or if an actual computer goes down. If that ever happened, I would just go buy another and in less than 5 minutes, I am

I understand that not all business are as fortunate as I am when it comes to operational simplicity, but for the average consumer.....this is heaven,

I will make sure I never buy or recommend anything HP again. The only reason we have firmware updates is because someone f****d s**t up in the first place. It's not like they're giving out enhancements to their products.

Point taken that this may only be with respect to HP ProLiant Servers -- the Blog article doesn't seem to explicitly say that but the FAQ goes to a document on the servers only.

That being said, this is pretty dumb. HP used to be one of my favorite companies, with great engineering and standout products. These days, it seems that all they can do is come out with mediocre, crappy plastic junk at slightly premium prices and find new ways to irritate their customers.

After deployment, most customers are reluctant to install firmware updates on production equipment unless they have to in order to resolve a specific issue. But the PR side of it is terrible. Plus, how is this "industry best practices" and "the right decision for our customers and partners" other than to get customers to pay HP and their partners for support?

Other than laser printers, I haven't bought an HP product in ages now, and this hardly moves the needle in a positive direction for me.

Meanwhile, in the real IT world of SMBs and enterprise...

We're not really worried, it's more of an inconvenience. Now I'm going to have to create an account to download SPPs. Big whoop. Where I work all HP servers are used for 7 years and are under Care Pack for entire time in case hard disks die (they do all the time in RAIDs), other hardware issues, 24/7 support, etc. They've practically paid for themselves since SAS disks are $450 a pop. I doubt there's too many SMB or enterprise customers who *don't* spring for HP warranty past the default 3 years. That would be pretty stupid to have $thousands (or tens of thousands) of equipment in production without an active support contract.

They might as well come out and say exactly what this precisely means:

"Your HP device has a limited lifespan that lasts as long as the warranty does. Once the warranty is expired, so does any potential support for your device unless you purchase an extended warranty for said device. If an extended warranty isn't an option, HP strongly recommends donating the device to some charitable organization for a tax credit and then purchasing an entirely new device when your device warranty expires."

I mean really, that's precisely what's being said here and everyone knows it (at least those that can read between the lines to see what the real message is).

This IS forced obsolescence, right in our faces.

I've never purchased anything brand new from HP, always used, typically off-lease so warranties were never a consideration anyway, but since I only purchase new Dell business class hardware for myself - which comes with 3 years onsite warranty service anyway - I'm good to go.

Too bad, HP, you lost a customer you never had in the first place.

Yet, another reason to stay away from HP! They release substandard products to consumers and then force them to pay money to make them average.

"industry best practices" has got to be one of the dumbest terms ever invented. I wish pain on the person who coined it. It is used SO much and it is so beyond stupid. You'd be hard pressed to find a bigger corporate "buzz word".

From what I understand it's just for servers - however, I checked with HP support and this *does* include the Microserver lines, which are essentially home/consumer/SMB products.

Well that sucks. I recently had to do a BIOS flash for my N36L to get windows 8.1 running on it. HP released new firmware for it around November. Product is well out of warranty too. Will be interesting to see if the fw is pulled from the website. It's still up there currently.

The Microserver lines are dead (EOL'd with the death of Windows Home Server 2011 - this was, in fact, a Spotlight article here on Neowin); what is the likelihood that HP will continue to create firmware upgrades for non-enterprise EOL'd hardware?

Hello,

Brian M. said,
From what I understand it's just for servers - however, I checked with HP support and this *does* include the Microserver lines, which are essentially home/consumer/SMB products.

Correct, this includes the Microservers as I clearly have a advisory each time I open the support page.


The Microserver lines are dead

? The Gen8 was released shortly and is not EOL at all...

Hello,

Capy said,
Thank you, HP. I was just about to buy a new MicroServer Gen8 so the news are very on time.

I bought mine and Im waiting to exchange it. Im actually thinking about getting a refund for it because HP has been such a ******* to me and now this move.

riahc3 said,
I bought mine and Im waiting to exchange it. Im actually thinking about getting a refund
Hope you'll make it. Fingers crossed

Damn.. HP is retarded. There is absolutely no reason to not freely update software/firmware. They're literally trying to tie hardware life to warranty with this, in hopes of people being forced to pay for new hardware or warranty services..

One thing is, my laptop is new, but out of warranty (had 1 year only).. now they are going to stop providing BIOS updates and driver updates? Wtf?

Industry best practice? No. Cisco inflated profit margins best practice me thinks.

Got a Cisco device with buggy firmware and no support contract? Time to buy a new one

Well, HP is definitely not at the top of my list of computers I would buy. Right now, Lenovo, Samsung and Asus look like the three best brands.

This is completely irrelevant to the consumer market. As far as the B2B (proliants and Blade) customers, they have a three year standard warranty and can opt to extend that fairly inexpensive.

In reality this is a non issue. Nothing to see here.. Move on..

paulheu said,
This is completely irrelevant to the consumer market. As far as the B2B (proliants and Blade) customers, they have a three year standard warranty and can opt to extend that fairly inexpensive.

In reality this is a non issue. Nothing to see here.. Move on..


this kind of logic seems to be going rather unnoticed both by the majority of posters and the 'reporter' of this neowin article. I'm no fan of HP but for this to get through to front page news with obviously no checks is astounding.

HP usually stops developing firmware and drivers for their laptops within the first 2 years anyway.
I fail to see how this would affect laptop buyers. Don't know about the rest...

Not in my experience. I've always thought HP were quite good at providing things like driver upgrades for older equipment and for multiple versions of Windows.

Spot on. The article is very poor. Written to make it seem like this affects the consumer PC side. The HP only provides firmware updates statement is linked to an issue with a laserjet printer which has nothing to do with this change in support.

While I don't agree with HP's change here, there won't be much of an impact to the consumer.

Very poor from Neowin too.

jasondefaoite said,
Spot on. The article is very poor. Written to make it seem like this affects the consumer PC side. The HP only provides firmware updates statement is linked to an issue with a laserjet printer which has nothing to do with this change in support.

While I don't agree with HP's change here, there won't be much of an impact to the consumer.

Very poor from Neowin too.

So enterprise customers are not important?

This week, HP announced that effective February 19, 2014, we will provide firmware updates through the HP Support Center only to customers with a valid warranty, Care Pack Service or support agreement.

The HP Support Center and Care Pack Service covers more than Servers.

Hi. Enterprise and home divisions are separate plans, though. So if this was only announced on the Enterprise site, it does not impact home users.

What about home users and small businesses that by servers and other equipment that is generally considered to be enterprise-grade? There may not be many of them but they do exist.

Home division does not sell Enterprise grade stuff. HP breaks it down: Home stuff is only sold through their home division and none of the business grade stuff is. Business/Enterprise stuff is sold through their Small and Large Business unit, along with some of the home division stuff. Small Business unit is a completely separate unit from the home unit with different prices, warranty, service options, etc. Usually the Business unit has the higher end warranties and contract options, plus the higher end hardware (EliteBooks, servers, ..).

Steven P. said,

The HP Support Center and Care Pack Service covers more than Servers.

I know it's difficult to click a couple of links in the original source article to get the correct picture of what is changing. Why let the truth get in the way of a good click bait article.

From the FAQ

Access to select server firmware updates and SPP for HP ProLiant Servers will require entitlement and will only be available to HP customers with an active contractual support agreement, HP Care Pack service, or warranty linked to their HP Support Center User ID. As always, customers must have a contract or warranty for the specific product being updated.

What is the scope of this change?

This change affects download access to select server firmware updates and SPP for HP ProLiant Servers. Affected firmware updates are categorized into a “Firmware (Entitlement Required)” category when viewing downloads in the HP Support Center Software & Drivers. SPP is categorized by “Application (Entitlement Required)” in HP Support Center.

nullie said,
Home division does not sell Enterprise grade stuff. HP breaks it down: Home stuff is only sold through their home division and none of the business grade stuff is. Business/Enterprise stuff is sold through their Small and Large Business unit, along with some of the home division stuff. Small Business unit is a completely separate unit from the home unit with different prices, warranty, service options, etc. Usually the Business unit has the higher end warranties and contract options, plus the higher end hardware (EliteBooks, servers, ..).

I'm not suggesting that home and small business users would buy enterprise-grade equipment from the Home division but there's nothing stopping them from buying that stuff, either from HP or from a 3rd-party retailer. These users are less likely to fork out for care packs.

Right, but you go through the proper channels.. Home division for home division stuff, small business unit for business/enterprise stuff.

The rules and policies for each unit/division at HP are separate, and I was pointing this out because the rules for the items purchased through home division have not apparently changed. It appears home users are not being included in the new firmware updates policy...

nickcruz said,

So enterprise customers are not important?


Enterprise customers are important and are more likely to have some type of a support agreement than a regular consumer.

Businesses probably already have the support packages anyway, I doubt this will affect many people in the end.

*BLEEP* you, HP! *BLEEP* you! This will cost you more in determining support eligibility than it would just supplying the firmware as a free download.

Thanks HP for making my buying decision even easier, Not that I've been all that interested in their product line lately, but this pretty much seals it.
None of their arguments work and what might be a short term gain will look decidedly different after a few short years of this.

I'm sure the customers will love this and be thrilled HP are following "Industry standards" (what industry exactly does this I don't know ).

Amazing the levels some companies go just to make a profit. How about try pay ALL your staff a "living wage" not just the ones high up the chain. Allot of business's within the industry have started doing this now.

First HP server I got and my my my, was very impressed with it.
After reading this I guess it will be the last HP server or device I buy. Not a good move, not a smart move and not going to impress businesses.

Hello,

Yeah, they have had this advisory on their support page a LONG LONG LONG time ago. I completely disagree with it and believe it is a stupid choice on their part. It makes no sense and besides, people will download it and post it on other sites.

“We know this is a change from how we've done business in the past; however, this aligns with industry best practices and is the right decision for our customers and partners."

How is this benefiting your customers? Partners? Yes!. Customers, NO!. This is the last time I'm buying a HP computer if they continue this.

Masterp said,
This is the last time I'm buying a HP computer if they continue this.

Why the "if"? Man up and boycott them now. I haven't bought anything from them in years. I'm the go-to IT guy for most of my friends/family/neighbors, and I've stopped recommending them for just as long.

I used to be a fan of HP when I was a kid. Hell, The AMD-type Pavilion was my first computer back in 2005 (it was older though). But now, they're just another OEM who just isn't doing anything aspiring. They fell off ever since VoodooPC was out of Business.

Looks like "industry best practices" are all about how best to rip off customers. Well done HP, I hope no one buys your products and stupid Care Pack Services any more.

Jaybonaut said,
Their printers have always been good for me.
Cartridges are a rip-off though, and even have chips to prevent refilling and stop printing when there's still ink left. Of course HP's not alone in this. It's a big scam run by all printer manufacturers. That's why the printers are dirt cheap, they make a killing on the consumables.

Used HP and Samsung laser printers with chips and deliberately early cut-offs. Looks to be a widespread problem now since refill kits for most laser printer models seem to come with reset chips. Wonder why no-one filed a class action suit.