While Wall Street reported yesterday that Moody's Investor Services downgraded its estimate on Xerox' debt rating by three points, in the printing market there's junk and there's junk.
For example, Lexmark now makes a colour inkjet printer that retails here in the UK for around Â£45, but if you buy two cartridges for the model, they will set you back twice the amount.
The Z33 colour inkjet is listed at Â£45.82 including tax, but a quick comparison of prices shows black and colour cartridges costing around Â£23 or so each.
There's better bargains about. A reader tells us Dixons sells a Lexmark printer for Â£18.99 which includes a colour cartridge but no black cartridge. If you buy the black cartridge, that will cost you Â£24.99..
So shouldn't Lexmark be giving away a new printer with cartridges, rather than the other way around?
Consumables are the so-called "sweet spot" of printer manufacturers, but as now things have reached this stage, isn't it time for this lunacy to stop?
Not that it will, of course, because the profits the printer manufacturers make on cartridges is as Winston Churchill said about another matter altogether, "a mystery wrapped in an enigma".
In fact, the fat profits on the consumables obviously subsidise the the manufacturing of printers, and these days it's non too easy to buy a no-name replacement when your inkjet's piezo crystal or whatever stops working. Modern inkjet cartridges have chip technology built into them so that when they communicate with the printer and don't find the right codes, you can't use the clone products.
It's not just Lexmark, of course, which indulges in this rather anti-green marketing of colour printers, just about the whole shooting match are up to similar tricks.