Friday, January 05, 2007

Lexmark Printers are Mac Hostile

by Douglas E. Welch, techiq@welchwrite.com
Reader/Listener Line @ 206-338-5832

Despite the gains that Apple has made in the computer market lately, their are some companies that just don't "get it". On occasion, I still run into web sites, software and services that require some specific Windows-only feature that could easily be replaced with something much more compatible for all computer systems.

My most recent run in with a Macintosh hostile company happened this week. A client called on me to complete the installation of a new printer which they couldn't make work with their iMac G5. This is understandable, as sometimes the installation, process of the printer software can be confusing. I wasn't really thinking about compatibility issues when I arrived, but concern grew once I saw the printer. It was a Lexmark product. I have had trouble with them before. They tend to be given away for free with PC purchases and all of the Lexmark products I have seen feel "cheap" for lack of a better word. I also knew, from past experience, that Lexmark produces entire product lines which only work with Microsoft Windows. Most printers manufactured by Hewlett-Packard and Epson embraced Mac-compatibility years ago, but Lexmark continues to drag its feet in this regard.

Sure enough, right on the box it listed only Windows as the supported systems. It probably would have been better if it would have said, "Don't by this printer to use with a Mac 'cause it doesn't" work. At least the customer would have been more aware when they purchased it. I made a last ditch effort for the client's sake and visited the Lexmark web site, hoping beyond hope that there might be some Macintosh printer drivers available there. There the only thing I found was a clear message, "This printer does not work with Mac OS X." See, they COULD have put it on the box, they put it on the web site.

So, Mac users, be aware that there are still some companies out there that see you as a second class citizen and, worse still, don't want you hard earned cash. Make sure that any device you buy explicitly states its Macintosh compatibility. Otherwise, you might just find yourself standing in the "return" line...again.

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