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Workgroup Color Printers: Reworked Program Vaults HP Into First Place

In a major upset, Hewlett-Packard took the No. 1 spot away from perennial leader Xerox in the Workgroup Color Printers category.

The win is even more astonishing considering HP was in sixth place last year and scored last in every criterion. Xerox had to settle for second place this year, and Lexmark also saw its star diminished, falling to third place in 2009, after placing second last year in a tie with Ricoh.

The leap comes after some hard work and introspection, said HP's Scott Dunsire, vice president, Imaging and Printing Group, Solution Partners Organization.

"After we saw the ARC results in 2008, we were extremely disappointed and knew we needed to pick some areas we needed to improve in to help partners," Dunsire said.

HP is continuing its focus on partner-centric programs. For example, it recently launched its Trade-In and Save 2009 program, which lets partners go after installed bases of older models and trade them out for new gear.

HP wrangled the top spot over competitors when it comes to managing channel conflict as well, scoring 76.9 points vs. Xerox with 61.9 and Lexmark with 59.3.

"Conflict was a big issue for us in the midmarket space," Dunsire acknowledged.

To that end, Dunsire said that HP has tightened its alignment with partners. In addition, HP has placed more emphasis on consistency with partners.

As for Xerox's report card, the company did lead in certain areas over HP and Lexmark such as technical innovation; services opportunity; richness of product features and functionality; and ease of doing business.

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