*NEWS*COLOR LASER BATTLE BREWING
*NEWS*COLOR LASER BATTLE BREWING
2005-10-19 at 11:11:00 am #13984
Color laser battle brewing
Hewlett-Packard unveils new printers to keep ahead of pack
In the brewing war over the printer business, the next battle is being fought in color.
Co. unveiled several new color printers and related supplies Monday in
its latest maneuver to outflank feisty newcomer Dell Inc. and maintain
its sizable lead in the business.
Among HP’s new offerings is a $700
color laser printer that takes aim at Dell’s line of lower-priced
offerings. HP also unveiled a new toner technology it claims delivers
20 percent more color and 40 percent more gloss than other toners.
this year, HP introduced a bare-bones $400 color laser printer that
matched Dell’s price for a similar machine. Dell now sells a color
laser for as little as $260.
Dell’s low-end color laser is not
produced by Lexington-based Lexmark International Inc., which, along
with other companies, produces the computer giant’s printers, said
spokeswoman Emily Rardin. Lexmark’s lowest-priced color laser, the
C510, retails for $499 but is not designed as a low-end machine, as
both its printer quality and pages per minute outnumber its rivals’
At the low-end prices, business and home users can now
get print-shop quality color machines for about the same price that
some lower-quality ink-jet printers cost just a few years ago.
increasingly important to businesses such as real estate offices,
retail shops and others who print an estimated 21 billion color pages
each year for fliers, brochures and other materials.
“If you look at
small and medium-sized businesses, what they want is to look like a big
company, but they don’t have a big company budget,” said Vyomesh Joshi,
executive vice president of HP’s imaging and printing group. With the
new color laser printers, Joshi said, companies can produce a typical
brochure for about $180, compared to about $600 at a print shop such as
HP helped create the printer business and today is the industry’s undisputed leader.
to technology research company International Data Corp., the Santa
Clara, Calif.-based company controls about 45 percent of the overall
printer market, well ahead of No. 2 Dell’s 15 percent market share.
Dell, based in Austin, Texas, has been making significant headway in an
industry it entered only about three years ago. That’s especially true
in the color laser printer business, which is widely considered the
fastest-growing and most profitable part of the market.
IDC, Dell captured about 12 percent of that market and became the No. 3
seller of color laser printer and all-in-one devices in its first year
in the business, while HP’s market share in that business fell slightly
to 35 percent.
The new battleground is the color laser business.
According to Lyra Research Inc., shipments of color laser
multi-function printers are expected to grow by 220 percent over the
next four years.
Lexmark CEO Paul Curlander also emphasized the
importance of color laser printers in a recent conference call with
analysts. He said Lexmark had not been proactive enough in the third
quarter in cutting prices to match its competitors. As a result, the
company, while still growing in color laser sales, did not grow at the
pace it would like.
What makes the color laser business even more
attractive to printer companies is that color machines typically use
four times as much toner as black-and-white machines. Color supplies
also typically cost more than black-and-white supplies.
every part of its printer business is profitable. And since it already
has a large base of printer customers, about 58 percent of HP’s printer
group revenues come just from supplies.
Like HP, Dell is planning a
greater focus on color and on small and medium-sized businesses, said
Tony Mara, Dell’s senior manager for printer product marketing.
years, Dell sold computers almost exclusively to business users. Today,
the majority of its sales still come from companies, government
agencies and other non-consumer users.
When it entered the printer
business, though, Dell focused almost exclusively on consumers,
offering low-priced — even free — ink jets with new computer
Joshi predicted HP will remain the market leader in part
by relying on superior technology. It does all its printer research
in-house, while Dell basically re-brands printers made by Lexmark,
Kodak, Samsung and Fuji Xerox.