HP USING COLOR TO STAY ON TOP & TO SPY

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HP USING COLOR TO STAY ON TOP & TO SPY

 user 2005-11-08 at 11:34:00 am Views: 40
  • #14536

    Printer leader H-P using color to stay on top
    Company unveils new models in hopes of stunting Dell’s ascension
    SAN JOSE, Calif. – In the escalating war over computer printers, the latest battle is being fought in color.
    Hewlett-Packard 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 H-P’s new offerings is a $700 color laser printer for business that takes aim at Dell. H-P also unveiled a new toner technology it claims delivers 20 percent more color and 40 percent more gloss than other toners.
    Earlier this year, H-P introduced a bare-bones $400 color laser printer that matched Dell’s price for a similar machine. Dell now sells a color laser printer for $260.
    At those prices, business and home users can get print-shop quality color machines for about the same price that some lower-quality ink-jet printers cost just a few years ago.
    That’s increasingly important to businesses such as real estate offices, retailers and others that 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, who heads H-P’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.
    H-P helped create the printer business and today is the industry’s undisputed leader.
    According to technology research company IDC, H-P controls about 45 percent of the overall printer market, well ahead of No. 2 Dell’s 15 percent market share.
    But Dell has been making significant headway in an industry it entered less than 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.
    According to IDC, Dell captured about 12 percent of that market and became the No. 3 seller of color laser printers and all-in-one-devices in its first year in the business; H-P’s market share in that business fell slightly to 35 percent. Dell only recently started selling higher-end printers.
    “I think they (H-P executives) are probably extremely concerned about Dell in certain areas,” said Dan Smyth, an analyst with research firm Current Analysis Inc. “Dell has forced everyone to become more price-competitive,” especially in the lower-priced ink-jet printer business.
    According to Lyra Research Inc., shipments of color laser, multifunction printers are expected to grow by 220 percent over the next four years.
    What makes the 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. About 58 percent of H-P’s printer group revenue comes from supplies.
    “Basically Dell’s success in this business relies on the (supplies),” said Smyth of Current Analysis. “We’re all kind of still waiting to see how that works out.”
    Like H-P, 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.
    For years, Dell sold computers almost exclusively to business users.When it entered the printer business, though, Dell focused almost exclusively on consumers, offering low-priced, even free, ink-jet printers with new computer purchases.
    “Starting out, we felt we could get penetration pretty quickly” with consumer sales, Mara said. “Over time, you’re going to see us moving more into what we do in our core side . . . business- to-business.”
    Joshi, who has set a company goal of doubling H-P’s printer business within a decade, dismisses Dell as just another competitor.
    IDC analyst Keith Kmetz doesn’t see H-P losing its lead any time soon, but he cautions, “(Dell) is certainly nipping at their heels.”
    Joshi predicted that H-P 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, he said.