Commercial printing represents a good opportunity for Hewlett-Packard, but first the company will need time to overcome several challenges.
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HP sets sights on commercial printing
Indigo, the relatively small printing vendor that HP recently acquired, will form a base from which to attack the commercial printing market. It offered an attractive takeover target, with solid technology and an impressive portfolio of patents in areas such as liquid electro-photographic printing, high-speed color and high-resolution printing.
However, HP has started small in a market with big, long-established competitors. It will take time to build up a presence to become competitive:
HP introduced its first commercial printer--sourced from Indigo--only last June.
HP started with seven people in its global sales staff. By comparison, Xerox, one of the leaders in this segment, has 3,000 experienced salespeople around the world. In addition, selling hundred-thousand-dollar machines and all the products and services that go with them will take different skills from those HP has used to sell desktop printers through its extensive network of resellers.
HP must also beef up its service and support capabilities before it can win a significant portion of the market.
The pending merger with Compaq Computer will likely cause some distraction.
Although HP has a sound vision and a good chance to bring in significant new revenue, Gartner believes it will take at least a year before the company starts to get traction in commercial printing.
(For a related commentary on HP's printing business, see gartner.com.)
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