Gold'en Rant : What happens when vendors play the blame game

In my quarter of a century of messing with computers (and I use that term loosely folks) the IT problem that I've come up against most often has been where two vendors blame each other for a bug, incompatibility of similar, on a given product.

Now it's happening with printers. Lots of them. I'm getting reports that, despite a welter of promises, Microsoft had done diddly-squat in working with printer companies to develop Vista drivers for their older printers - some of which are only a few years old!

A pal of mine bought a rebadged Lexmark printer from Dell a few years ago. I kind of feel responsible, as Dell was knocking them out for a tenner, clearly hoping to make money on its branded cartridges which have been doctored so that standard Lexmark cartridges won't work properly.

Well, they will, but the printer ink levels feedback to the PC doesn't function - unless you buy or refill the Dell cartridges.

Anyways up, my pal upgraded his five-years-old machine for a new one this week. Ironically from Dell.

It works a treat under Vista, and he even spent a worried hour or so updating the machine with Vista SP1 the other night. But he got through the trauma okay. Phew.

But his printer doesn't work. Dell can't help him, as they blame Microsoft for its failure to support printer manufacturers in their driver development plans. Lexmark does too.

Microsoft, needless to say, hasn't responded to his online support question yet.

I'm on the verge of recommending a quick trip to WH SMith, where they're selling all-in-one HP scanner/printer/smartcard units for around 30 pounds - half price - though the cartridges are quite expensive.

My pal isn't best pleased with my recommendation track record though, so it's going to cost me a few compensatory beers when I see him next week.

Should I blame Dell, Lexmark or Microsoft? Or all three? What a mess. I think I need that beer now...