Tech Data Reaches Into Enterprise With HP's Multifunction Printers

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While Tech Data's plan to sell Hewlett-Packard's complete line of multifunction printers (MFPs) ideally touches all customer sets, Tech Data executives said enterprise customers will benefit most.

The MFPs combine several functions, including copying, printing, scanning and faxing, into one machine, but their five-digit price tags may surpass the spending limits of cost-conscious SMB customers. Still, the pricey devices will also help Tech Data reach a new set of customers: those looking for high-end office products.

"It's incremental business for us right now," said Dan O'Brien, vice president of peripherals marketing at Tech Data. "And it broadens our technology offering."

MFP devices and services enable solution providers to offer cost-containment solutions that implement converging technologies, Tech Data said. "There's a cost savings realized when you can [put more than one function into a device," O'Brien said.

Tech Data and HP representatives have been working together to "synchronize" their business plans and determine the way to attack the market, O'Brien said. The distributor doesn't expect a slowdown as a result of HP's pending merger with Compaq Computer to affect MFP sales at Tech Data, he added.

"We really don't expect any short-term slowdown. What we do expect is a more focused [combined company," O'Brien said.

While the MFP distribution deal is not exclusive to Tech Data, the company has been designated the primary distributor by HP, O'Brien said. Tech Data also took on HP's MFP products as part of a larger goal to expand its Information Appliance strategic business unit, he added.

The distributor said it plans to continue looking for new vendors and products for the group that fit the Tech Data line card and meet a need for its customers.

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