Hewlett-Packard Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina last week derided rival Dell Computer's entry into the printer market, noting that HP has withstood low-cost threats in the past.
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Hewlett-Packard Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina discusses Dell Computer's entry into the printer business last week at The Gartner ITxpo Symposium.
In a question-and-answer session before about 5,000 IT executives here at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2002, Fiorina lampooned Dell's plan to private-label printers from Lexmark International with the Dell brand. " 'Dude, you're getting a Lexmark' just doesn't have the same ring," she said. "Which is maybe why [Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell now has decided to private-label printers. My answer to Michael Dell is, 'Come on in, the water is fine.' "
HP recently ended its printer reselling agreement with Dell after top HP executives learned Dell was poised to ink a deal to private-label Lexmark printers.
"[Fiorina is trying to protect [HP's channel. HP clearly dominates the whole printer space. What is Lexmark, and what market share do they own as Lexmark? . . . People need to watch Dell, as clearly they are on a mission to take over every segment of this industry they do not play in," said Warren Finkel, president of RLM Group, a white-box maker and distributor in East Brunswick, N.J.
"It is interesting that Dell announces a strategy, and everyone assumes they will be successful," Fiorina said. "I think, frankly, the announcement they have actually made is to be a channel of distribution for somebody else's product. That is an interesting strategy, but it is not one that produces real profitability."
For his part, Michael Dell pledged later in the week at the same conference to drive down the total cost of printing/imaging products and supplies with its first product rollouts in the first half of next year.
"We think we can drive down the entire cost of owning and using printing products," Dell said, during his own question-and-answer session.
Dell declined to discuss whether his company will deliver toner cartridges or other products that undercut HP's offerings.
EDWARD F. MOLTZEN contributed to this story.