*NEWS*HP USING COLOR TO STAY ON TOP / SPY

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*NEWS*HP USING COLOR TO STAY ON TOP / SPY

 user 2005-11-08 at 11:35:00 am Views: 97
  • #14537

    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.