KODAK PRINTERS SELLOUT
KODAK PRINTERS SELLOUT
2007-03-14 at 10:44:00 am #17760
Kodak printer sellout: Are consumers are voting for lower ink prices?
In yesterday’s blog I lamented the fact that my local Staples no longer sells HP-compatible ink and toner cartridges, and that the branded products cost much more. HP’s move to maximize profits by limiting consumer choice could play into the hands of Kodak, a new player in the ink jet printer market that’s offering low-cost consumables as a way to compete against the entrenched players.If you’re mad as hell and don’t want to pay high prices for ink anymore, you may be responsive to Kodak’s new line of EasyShare printers. Kodak offers this bargain: you pay a bit more for the printer. In return, it will sell you the consumables for 50% less than those from HP and other established players (a 5-color cartridge is just $14.99; a black cartridge $9.99).Kodak has turned the current business model on its head. While HP, Lexmark and others virtually give away the “razor” to sell you the blades, Kodak expects to make a margin on the hardware. In return it will provide cheaper ink. In the long run the total cost of ownership should pay off. Kodak says users who buy Kodak paper in quantity and use its consumables can print 4 x 6 photos for about 10 cents each – about 1/3 the cost of competing printers and about half the cost of prints at your local Target or Wal Mart.When Kodak first announced the products last month, analysts commenting in a Wall Street Journal story were divided on its prospects (Kodak’s Strategy For First Printer — Cheaper Cartridges, available to WSJ online subscribers only). While some said Kodak’s consumer-friendly move would shake up the industry, others said only those customers that print lots of color pictures were likely to buy Kodak’s new products.In a posting at The Utility Belt blog last month (Kodak printers target the heart of HP’s profit), the author previewed the printers and came away impressed. His summary: “HP should worry.”It’s too early to say for sure, but judging by the initial response, Kodak may have hit a nerve with buyers. The product line launched this month exclusively with Best Buy. A check of the Best Buy Web site this morning showed that Kodak’s $149 low-end model, the EasyShare 5100 All-in-One Photo Printer/Copier/Scanner, was already sold out.But will the new printer line from Kodak perform as well as products from HP and its established rivals? The 5100 supposedly creates color prints at 22 pages per minute and can generate a 4″ x 6″ photo print in 28 seconds. I haven’t seen one yet. Perhaps readers could weigh in. Would you buy a Kodak?